CMJ stays focused on core values as it looks to drive growth after restructure

A refocus to get ‘back to the core values’ is the main message coming out of the Company of Master Jewellers’ (CMJ) trade event and AGM this weekend.

CMJ retailers and suppliers are currently at the Birmingham Metropole for the buying group’s bi-annual trade show, where the board of directors have the set tone for the coming months and laid out its stall to refocus on “what it does best” to benefit its members.

During the AGM today (August 5), non-executive director, Julie Langford, presented a review of the financials.

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The CMJ said while, due to the restructure of the group and the closure of the loss-making subsidiaries, the 2017/18 figures made for a rather “bleak” reading, the results were “as anticipated”.

However, the buying group claims a refocus on core business offers a future outlook which is more encouraging for 2018 onwards.

At last year’s AGM, the Group promised to refocus and restructure after posting a questionable loss for the 2016/17 financial year.

During today’s meeting, CMJ chairman Michael Aldridge outlined the major overhauls the buying group had taken in the past 12 months, which have included the closure of its distribution business, Somers Distribution, and the sale of its PR arm, Facets PR, alongside downsizing its headquarters. Aldridge said this has all been done to ensure the Group is a “less diverse business”, which has a “much clearer focus and strategy”.

Now that this restructure has been completed the CMJ’s chief executive Terry Boot, who was named the permanent successor to Willie Hamilton in January this year, is focused on increasing membership numbers and increasing member spend through the Group, so all members feel the benefit.

During the meeting the chairman also revealed this year’s annual share-holder return was 20% higher than the previous financial year.

Looking ahead the CMJ are looking to recruit 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.

Aldridge said that CMJ needed a “fresh pair of eyes” to help form this new strategy, adding: “That’s why we have engaged, marketing agency, Cognition. They have been able to work with the head office team, viewing the business from outside, to get a clearer view of what our marketing strategy should look like.”

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,” Aldridge added.

The chairman concluded: “I trust that all of this demonstrates our commitment to our new strapline – Our focus is your future.”

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