Company of Master Jewellers reports record 2012/13 sales, up 20 percent
BIRMINGHAM, England, August 4, 2013 – The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) reported that sales through the UK’s biggest jewellery buying group for April 2012 to March 2013 have risen from £73.6 million to £88.1 million, a 20 percent increase, representing the CMJ’s highest ever figure.
In a report presented at the CMJ’s AGM in Birmingham on August 4, CMJ Financial Director Andrew Hirshman reported that the net worth of the CMJ has risen by 18 percent to £1.97 million from 2012’s net worth of £1.67 million.
“Once again the CMJ is in its strongest financial position in its 33 year history,” Hirshman said.
Hirshman pointed out that sales of Pandora jewellery through the CMJ have risen by 20 percent within the past financial year.
“This increase comes from new CMJ members but also from increased spending with our existing membership. This clearly highlights the continuing strength of the Pandora brand in the UK jewellery marketplace,” Hirshman said.
Watch sales through the CMJ have risen by 16 percent to £8.1 million, which represents 27 percent of total core sales. “New suppliers such as BQW and Bering have made a significant impact in this particular area,” Hirshman reported.
Branded jewellery has risen by 8.7 percent to £3.7 million and perhaps more surprisingly is the increase in non-branded jewellery to £2.9 million, which was up 3 percent.
The total number of members, at the end of the financial year stands at 145 with 6 new members joining the CMJ during the financial year.
Retailers are attracted to CMJ because they can take advantage of discounts and networking opportunities.
“These new members are of a very good calibre, which can only strengthen our position. We are receiving a very encouraging number of new member proposals, which suggests that the credibility of the group and the value of being a member of the CMJ continues to be held in high regard,” Hirshman said.
CMJ chief executive Willie Hamilton said: “These figures highlight the ongoing success and strength of the CMJ and are the result of our investment in building the CMJ executive team and the dedication and inspirational leadership of the CMJ Board of Directors, led by our Chairman, Stephen Hughes.”
Hamilton added: “The CMJ has never been in such a strong financial position, which not only benefits all our members but also our supply partners and indeed the wider jewellery industry both in the UK and on the international stage.”
In an interview with Jewellery Outlook, Hamilton said a sharp rise in Pandora sales through the CMJ, combined with the strength of the market for pre-owned watches, and the success in adding new retail members, had contributed to the increase in sales.
“That brand (Pandora) is flying,” he said.
CMJ chief executive Willie Hamilton
Hamilton referred to the strong sales achieved by BQW in pre-owned branded watches such as Rolex.
He told retail members in a speech earlier in the day that he expected continued strong growth in costume jewellery sales, the fastest growing segment in the market in the UK.
Overall, Hamilton saw margin growth in jewellery and watches in 2013/14, spurred by a recovery in the economy and improving market confidence.
He also predicted growth in internet jewellery retailing, reaching 9 percent of the UK market by 2017.
“The biggest growth area in internet trading has been ‘click and collect’. It’s the easiest of all online services for jewellers,” he said.
Hamilton singled out suppliers that he believed would make a valuable contribution to the mix of product stocked by retailers.
He said Arctic Circle diamonds from Canada fulfilled the highest ethical standards.
Sourcing, cutting, polishing and setting are all in Canada. There is no risk of any association with conflict.
“Full traceability and ethics must continue to be the lifeblood of this industry,” Hamilton said.
Arctic Circle reported strong orders from the start of the CMJ Trade Event which its executives attributed to consumers’ determination to embrace quality products that meet the highest ethical standards.
Hamilton also singled out Diamonfire, which had the biggest stand at the CMJ Trade Event, as a brand capable of achieving outstanding sales in the future.
He said a challenge for the CMJ was to get the balance of suppliers right for the independent retail jewellers who visit the Trade Events.
“We need to be able to satisfy all of our members with the right mix of suppliers for their businesses,” he said.