Pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond plans to further boost its presence on the UK high street as it benefits from the public's demand for instant cash ahead of payday.

The group, which has 62 branches, said it would continue to snap up new sites after the addition of five new cheque- cashing branches helped lift annual profits by 13 per cent to a record £5.7 million.

Chairman Charles Nicolson yeserday said Albemarle would carry on making small acquisitions in the coming years and could potentially support a network of around 90 to 100 shops.

The group - which has five branches in Birmingham and one in West Bromwich - has not revealed where it plans to open up the new sites.

Mr Nicolson said the results reflected the stable nature of the business, saying: "It's not rocket science, it's just jolly good old plod."

The company, which was founded in Bristol in 1986, gains around half of its profits from its pawnbroking business and the rest from activities such as cashing cheques and selling second-hand jewellery.

It said all areas of the business had performed well in the year to June 30, including an 11 per cent increase in pawn loans and a nine per cent hike in cheque-cashing.

Jewellery sales matched last year's levels, which the company described as a good performance given the difficult trading conditions experienced by other jewellery retailers.

The company's cheque cashing activities remained an important contributor to profits.

Third party cheque cashing grew by nine per cent and payday advances increased in profitability.