Bridal jewellery sales jumped to £12.8 million across the Company of Master Jewellers’ supplier base in the last 12 months, suggesting that chief executive officer Willie Hamilton’s efforts to push the importance of the bridal market have not been in vain.
In April 2014, Hamilton began encouraging CMJ members to make a push with bridal collections, noting that independent jewellery retailers were increasing their unbranded gold and bridal offers in line with previous highs.
Speaking to Professional Jeweller at the time, he said: “Diamond prices are stable, the gold price has fallen and the pound is gaining strength, which means that retailers are now managing their cash flows much better. The number of marriages in the UK is also reported to have grown – especially with the legalisation of gay marriage – and the result is a chance for retailers to put cash back into unbranded and bridal collections in store, to help boost their bottom line.
“A customer walking past your store that sees diamond jewellery, engagement and wedding rings in your window will remember that and come back – if they don’t see it, they won’t think to come to you when it’s time to make that bigger purchase.
“We are telling those retailers that might be losing key watch and jewellery accounts to focus on bridal and make it their core business. They should become the bridal and diamond specialist in their town, and leave the watches and branded jewellery to the chap down the road.”
Later, in August 2014, Hamilton reiterated this stance at the CMJ’s summer trade event, noting: “As consumer spend on jewellery in the UK is still reaching over £3 billion per annum and sales within the CMJ still showing strong growth, I believe that the market is adjusting within the ‘costume’ jewellery sector and my well versed phrase of ‘moving with the mix’ is well worth adopting once again with a long hard look at what may be a neglected core element of every jeweler in the CMJ: The Bridal Market.”
Continuing on the topic, Hamilton went on to argue that now is the ideal opportunity for retailers to invest in making improvements to their bridal offer, largely because of positive economic factors and exchange rates.
12 months later it appears that CMJ members have benefited from a growing emphasis on the bridal market. According to figures presented at the Group’s annual general meeting on Sunday September 8, the bridal jewellery segment, which includes both diamond and wedding ring suppliers, contributed £12.8m to core CMJ sales in 2014/2015.
This figure is up from £10.7m in the previous year and £11.9m the year before that. This represents a rise of just under 20%, reversing last years fall of 10%.
Finance director, Andrew Hirshman, explained during the AGM: “This does indeed demonstrate that we have begun to refocus back onto this critical side of our business. Brown & Newirth, Domino, Corona and Bass Premier have in particular have shown good growth this year.”
More details of the Company of Master Jewellers’ AGM can be found here.