Jewellery buying group, the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ), has said it has returned to its “core values” following a period of change for the organisation over the last 12 months.
At the businesses’ annual general meeting (AGM) held in Birmingham today (August 5) alongside its summer buying meeting, members were told that the CMJ will continue to focus on “what it does best”.
Non-executive director, Julie Langford, presented a review of the financials for the 2017/2018 year which, she said, were “as anticipated”, due to the re-structure of the group and the closure of the loss-making subsidiaries.
She added that the re-focus of CMJ on its core business offers a future outlook which is more encouraging for 2018 onwards.
Additionally, CMJ chairman Michael Aldridge said that this year’s annual share-holder return was 20% higher than the previous financial year.
“We have a much clearer focus and strategy. And we are a less diverse business,” he said.
At last year’s AGM, held on August 7, CMJ reported a loss for the 2016/2017 financial year. At that AGM, Aldridge reassured members that a “thorough financial review” was to be carried out and that the group would implement a new strategy to “get the business back to its roots as the best independent buying group in Europe”.
Since then, CMJ has closed its distribution business, Somers Distribution, and sold its PR arm, Facets PR, to its founder Sarah Carpin. The company also downsized its headquarters in Rugby, to only occupy one property, saving the CMJ approximately £100,000.
Now that this has been completed the group’s chief executive Terry Boot is, according to Aldridge, focused on increasing membership numbers and increasing member spend through the group, so all members feel the benefit.
Aldridge also announced that CMJ is recruiting a membership development manager who will work to increase the member-base with quality retailers that fit the CMJ “ideals”,
CMJ has also employed the services of an external marketing agency to raise its profile and intends to demonstrate how it is setting the agenda in retail jewellery to the benefit of its members and suppliers.
CMJ’s new website will be at the hub of this new focus and strategy, as it will enable CMJ members and suppliers greater and quicker access to the assets they need to help them manage their businesses, so they can concentrate more time on customers.
“We understand that it’s not just about supplying great benefits, marketing support and web portals to make life easier – it’s about demonstrating we are moving forward,” added Aldridge.
A recent survey commissioned by CMJ demonstrated that consumers still value the “in-store” experience retail jewellers offer. This retail report will be available exclusively to CMJ members and suppliers, providing invaluable insight into UK jewellery consumer purchasing habits.
Aldridge concluded: “I trust that all of this demonstrates our commitment to our new strap-line - Our focus is your future.”