| ||Willie Hamilton|
LONDON, June 15, 2011 – The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ), the UK’s biggest buying group, has reported a huge increase in sales and noted sharply growing interest from overseas suppliers, Chief Executive Willie Hamilton said.
Sales through the Group have surged by 400 percent over the past four years to 76.9 million pounds this year, and were up 70 percent from 45.3 million pounds last year, according to figures released on June 12.
It was the fifth straight rise year on year for the CMJ. In 2007, sales through the Group were just 18.8million pounds, and the past two years have seen the most outstanding growth.
The strong growth in the results reflects the strength of individual retailers, the resilience of the jewellery market in tough economic times, and the expanding membership of the Group, both for retailers and in securing new supply partners.
Rugby-based CMJ has seen a strong growth in interest from foreign suppliers seeking to tap into the retail market in the UK and Ireland, Hamilton told Jewellery Outlook in an interview after the group’s AGM.
“There is a definite drive from overseas. In the last year, I have seen a massive increase in overseas suppliers wanting to talk to us, as a buying group, to introduce their brands, their individual products, to independent jewellers across the UK,” Hamilton said.
“Once we get to grips with the cost base of key value suppliers from around the world, the international buyers can then stop and say, ‘I don’t necessarily need to buy in my market. Here’s a market, over here, that’s ahead of us.’
“And then they may well come to us to say, ‘We’ve learnt from you.’ And that might develop our UK market.”