Albemarle & Bond pawn shops close | Albemarle & Bond

The future of pawnshop Albemarle & Bond and nearly 400 employees is uncertain, leaving customers worried they will not get their belongings back, after stores closed and its website warned parts of the business had “ceased their activities”.

In a statement posted on its website, Albemarle & Bond told clients, who pledge valuables for short-term cash, that their items will be kept at its pawnshop for the duration of the loan. ready.

But the pawnshop, which is owned by Oxford-based Speedloan Finance, has not said anything about the future of the 116 stores it operates alongside its sister brand, Herbert Brown.

“If you don’t pay off your loan on the agreed date, your pledged items can be sold in accordance with your pawnshop agreement,” the company said.

“If your item is sold for a surplus, we will write to you to let you know how you can receive these funds. “

A customer service phone number appeared to be overwhelmed or not functioning, with calls triggering an engagement tone.

The Guardian called more than a dozen stores across the country, none of which answered the phone, while a staff member at Albermarle & Bond’s Reading office could not provide any information.

The website offered no details on the overall financial health of the company, only saying that “this store” had gone out of business and affected customers would receive a letter.

Another pawnshop and payday loan company, The Money Shop, went bankrupt in June, but it is not known if Albermarle & Bond suffered the same fate.

The Liverpool Echo newspaper said he had been “inundated” with calls people who worried that this was the case. Borrowers who contacted the newspaper said they pledged items for cash at their local store and now feared they would never see them again.

Speedloan Finance, which employed 391 people at the end of 2018, reported a drop in revenue last year from £ 38million to £ 34million, leading to an increase in pre-tax losses of £ 1, £ 9million to £ 3.3million.

Its ultimate owner is a Japanese company, Daikokuya Holdings, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and also has a pawn shop business in Japan.

Albermarle & Bond flirted with the administration in 2014, but was acquired as part of a bailout agreement by Promethean, the investment vehicle of former Bank of Scotland boss Sir Peter Burt.

In 2016, he got a £ 10million injection from investment and advisory firm Gordon Brothers.