Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) turnover up 28 percent in 2013/14
BIRMINGHAM, England, August 2014 – The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ), the UK’s biggest jewellery cooperative buying group, reported that it is in the strongest financial position of its 34-year history with group sales up 28 percent to just shy of 113 million pounds in 2013/14, from 88.1 million pounds in 2012/13.
“This is the first time we have broken through the 100 million pounds barrier, a remarkable achievement — and congratulations to all the members for your contribution to this fantastic result,” CMJ’s Finance Director Andrew Hirshman said.
CMJ’s gross profit has risen, from 1.74 million pounds to 2.04 million pounds, an increase of 17 percent.
“This is a wonderful platform for the next phase of our growth and development as the leading jewellery cooperative buying group in the UK,” Hirshman said.
Tracking sales growth in line with the industry statistical categories, the fashion jewellery category showed an increase of over 30 percent, while the precious jewellery category dropped by 10 percent and the watch category grew by almost 20 percent in sales through the CMJ.
CMJ Chief Executive Willie Hamilton said that the trend within CMJ throughput reflects the market analysts’ predictions that the fashion brands would continue their growth, while precious jewellery would decline.
CMJ Chief Executive Willie Hamilton
“However, the encouraging sales trends within CMJ, shows that the sub category of bridal jewellery is still the largest part of our core precious jewellery sales,” Hamilton said.
“We do forecast this area to grow once again as the economy continues to recover, as consumer confidence continues to return and as our members start to refocus back on this critical side of their business,” he added.
Hirshman reported that: “Another point of interest and one which is encouraging is that 57 percent of CMJ members’ spend this financial year was ahead of their corresponding spend last year.
“This is up from 52 percent of the members in the previous year.
“This bodes well for the year ahead and further adds to the arguments that there is economic light at the end of the tunnel.”
Further illustrating the growth of the CMJ, Hirshman revealed figures showing just how many invoices are processed through the CMJ’s head office in Rugby.
“In the year ending March 2010, the accounts team processed just short of 75,000 invoices, and by the end of year to March 2014, the team were handling just under 130,000 invoices, a rise of 55,000, or 73 percent in just 5 years and just over 10,000 a month,” he added.
“This further demonstrates the increased size, strength and continued success of the Group.”
Willie Hamilton said: “With 7 years of continued growth, CMJ has proven the strength that can be achieved by independent jewellers working together as a collective.
“CMJ has grown through the worst of economic times in the UK and with a cautious but positive future economic upturn predicted in the UK, independent jewellers large and small that want to share in that growth are encouraged to contact us for no obligation discussion on joining the CMJ collective.”
Hamilton gave a presentation to the CMJ membership during a trade meeting in Birmingham on August 3, in which he spoke of an upturn in the UK jewellery and watches sector aided by a pickup in the economy.
“A number of analysts have forecast that by the end of the 2018, the economy will have returned to something approaching normal. And we are seeing the start of that normality with last week’s announcement that the UK economy has grown by 0.8 percent in the second quarter of 2014 and passing the pre-recession peak in the good old days of 2008,” Hamilton said.
”The service sector led by retailing has seen stronger growth of 1 percent, so the recent past, our present and our future is looking positive for us all.
And for all you economic business gurus out there even the IMF have revised its forecasts for the UK putting it into positive growth and ahead of the other G7 economies, and some of the senior managers of leading businesses such as the CEO of DeBeers, MD of Rolex and Chairman of Pandora are sharing my enthusiasm for the UK economic outlook.”
Fashion brand sales continue to be strong in 2014, with sales value for this sector increasing by 19.1 percent when comparing Q1 2014 with the same quarter the previous year, and fashion brands now equate to 21.6 percent of the total market sales value compared to 19 percent in 2012.
Speaking to Jewellery Outlook on the sidelines of the CMJ trade event on August 3, jewellers said they were seeing clear signs of improved trading activity.
Daniel Vecht of London Pearl said he had received multiple orders from important retailers over the past couple of weeks, signalling buoyant retail demand for pearl jewellery in the UK.
Gary Wroe, managing director at Hockley Mint and Chairman of the British Jewellers’ Association (BJA), also said he was seeing clear evidence of an upturn in the UK jewellery market.