Stephen Hughes says new doors for existing members will drive growth.
Company of Master Jewellers chairman Stephen Hughes believes the number of stores working within the cooperative could double over the next few years.
Speaking to Professional Jeweller on the sidelines of the group’s buyers’ meeting and AGM, he said that the expansion of existing members as they open or acquire multiple outlets could account for up to 40 percent in growth from 218 ‘doors’ to over 400.
The CMJ annual meeting came at a time when Hughes says its members are facing a generational change. The old order of family-owned jewellers selling to a town of loyal customers is being challenged by TV shopping, internet shopping, multiples and a new breed of jewellers selling less gold and diamonds, and more fashion brands like Pandora, Links of London and Thomas Sabo.
“People need to be tuned into the new jewellery trade,” said Hughes. “90-95 percent of members are aware that they need to change,” he added.
The CMJ is working to modernise its image as a group known for supporting county town jewellers, according to Hughes, and is actively targeting areas including London in the South and an arc from Liverpool across to Leeds in the North with a membership drive.