Michael Aldridge, chairman of the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ), is reassuring members and suppliers that the current board and interim chief executive are working in the organisation’s “best interests”.
Aldridge, who was appointed to the role of chairman in June, was speaking ahead of this weekend’s CMJ buying meeting and annual AGM, which will take place on August 6-7 in Birmingham and said that a “thorough financial review” is being carried out following the latest set of full-year accounts.
Although the accounts for the year ended March 31, 2017 have not yet been made public, they have been circulated to retail members.
Retail Jeweller has seen sight of these accounts and they are expected to reveal a loss before taxation of £73,123 for the buying group.
Total sales for the period were £183.5m while turnover stood at £5.8m. In the previous full year the CMJ recorded a profit before taxation of £415,826 against sales of £166.6m and turnover of £4.3m.
Distribution costs to the business and administrative expenses were £1.3m higher for the year ended March 31, 2017 when compared to the previous accounting period although this is likely to be attributed to the costs associated with the other business, including Design Unique and HBS IT, which CMJ acquired in February 2016 as well as the launch of its distribution arm.
Referring to the recent set of accounts as a “challenge”, Aldridge was quick to reassure members and suppliers that the matter is now being addressed.
“Our focus now is how we can move CMJ forward as a stronger and united buying group, for the benefit of our members and suppliers,” he said.
He then went on to insist that the organisation is in very “safe hands” in the form of interim chief executive Terry Boot who, as Retail Jeweller revealed on Monday, has a strong retail and financial pedigree which has seen him work with some of the UK’s best-known footwear retailers during some challenging times.
Aldridge continued: “The current board and interim CEO are now carrying out thorough financial reviews to address the challenges we are facing.
“We can assure CMJ members that all decisions made following this review will be made in the best interests of the membership and to ensure the continued success of CMJ.”