The boss of high street jewellery firm Ramsdens is expecting an upswing in workers selling their gold or pawning their jewellery for cash as coronavirus forces many businesses to close shop and send staff home.
Peter Kenyon, who has led the business since 2008, said that demand for travel money had decreased because of the outbreak, but added other areas could do better.
“As a business, we have the benefit of offering diversified services to customers and, given the uncertainty, we anticipate an increasing need for our asset-backed pawnbroking and gold-buying services to support customers through potential short-term cash flow difficulties,” he said
The comments come as trade association UKHospitality warned that the Government has 24 hours to save one million jobs across the UK’s pubs, restaurants, bars, hotels and leisure attractions.
The Covid-19 situation continues to evolve quickly and the extent and duration of its future impact across all areas of people's lives is difficult to assessPeter Kenyon, Ramsdens
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality said: “Our analysis suggests in excess of one million jobs are now on the line. Job cuts are extraordinarily deep and they are happening now – today and tomorrow – and are snowballing.”
No official data has yet been released on how many jobs have been lost in the UK.
In Norway, the number of people seeking unemployment benefit has approximately tripled since last Monday.
In the same update, Ramsdens said that profit before tax will be in line with expectations when it reports for the year ending March 31.
Pawnbroking and precious metals have performed well since the start of 2020.
But there has been a “significant decline in customer demand” for the foreign exchange arm of the business in recent weeks.
Ramsdens said it was difficult to predict the impact Covid-19 would have on its income, but there will be a “material reduction” in foreign exchange revenues in the near term.
Mr Kenyon said: “We are in unprecedented times. The Covid-19 situation continues to evolve quickly and the extent and duration of its future impact across all areas of people’s lives is difficult to assess.
“Our first concern continues to be the wellbeing of our colleagues and our customers and we have taken actions to protect them.
“At the start of February, we were looking forward with optimism to accelerating our growth plans.
“Just a few weeks later, we have no visibility on how long the current international travel disruption will last and how this will impact our foreign exchange income stream in the year ahead.”