The Company of Master Jewellers believes there are several hundred independent retailers in the UK that would benefit from becoming members of the buying group.
CMJ is a non-profit, members-only organisation that works with hundreds of retailers and suppliers to support their businesses with collective bargaining for better prices on watches and jewellery on the buying side along with services like marketing and training.
The organisation’s chief executive Terry Boot (pictured top) told WatchPro‘s sister title Professional Jeweller this month that there is a big push on to sell the benefits of membership to small business owners in the jewellery and watch trade.
“We have 100 towns or cities where we have no representation, and we think there are a minimum of 300-400 retailers that would fit in the sweet spot of what we are looking for as far as retailers,” said Mr Boot.
CMJ is rebuilding after a torrid year in 2017 when it posted a significant loss due to over-extension into areas including distribution and public relations. The group has spent the past 18 months on a back to basics drive that focuses on delivering key benefits like better prices from suppliers. “It has been quite difficult, we were quite complicated probably where we shouldn’t be, so it is unravelling all of that and just trying to refocus,” Mr Boot explains.
Independent jewellers have also endured a difficult period, and CMJ’s members have not been immune to the challenges facing the British high street. “We lost ten members last year – eight of them had close their businesses, one retired, and one had moved away from what he was buying,” Mr Boot reveals.