Saturday, September 15, 2012
The inside of the old Halifax is being fitted out. Staff in Greggs next door and street traders say it's going to be Cash Converters. But grocer Ralph says, "Get it right, it's Cash Generator."
Not much difference, really. They both sell second hand goods that have been bought from the public for less than half their real value, (although they regard themselves as the high street equivalent of eBay). They both offer payday loans, cash advances, short term personal loans and pawnbroking services. They offer a quick way to raise cash and, as Ralph says, "It's better than a bookies, innit."
So, what'll the shark tally be in the south end of high street now?
Betting shops 5, Pawnbrokers 5.
But Cash Generator does not consider itself a pawnbroker – 'pawnbroking' presently accounts for only one per cent of its business (though it might be said that most pawnbrokers' business is now PayDay Loans anyway). They claim their core retail activity is buying and selling second hand mostly electrical and entertainment goods such as TVs, laptops, mobiles and cameras. Their 2009 gross profit was £30m and they plan to open 50 new stores a year (with a potential 500 locations earmarked across the UK) to compete with their obvious competitors, Cash Converters. They are owned by US company Axcess Financial, whilst another US company EZCorp owns Abermarle & Bond and Cash Converters.
Betfred's move to take over these premises was thwarted by the Government Planning Inspector, who saw fit to alter the planning class of this particular unit (A2 Financial Use) to exclude betting shops. However, pawnbrokers fall within two planning classes – Retail and Financial, so can pretty much open anywhere. We can't find any planning applications for signage for this address, but expect something gaudy which, (like Abermarle & Bond, Paddy Power, Poundland et al) they probably won't even bother to get permission for.