After “several months of discussions”, Australian Jewellers Supplies and House of Jewellery have announced the merger of their business operations.
The two companies, AJS (headquartered in Brisbane) and HOJ (headquartered in Sydney) will continue to operate as AJS, retaining both brands and all key personnel.
HOJ owner Selwyn Brandt will take on the role of business development director for the new venture while Ian Martin will continue in his role as general manager of the AJS group.
Announcing the merger, Brandt said the companies had decided to merge as both were looking “for expansion opportunities in a fairly stagnant market”.
Readily acknowledging the recent challenges faced by the local and international jewellery industry, he said both believe “the synergies provided by the merger make it a compelling and positive transaction for all concerned”.
“The industry stands to benefit greatly from the merger because of improved buying power and a larger product offering from both the AJS and HOJ brands.
“This will lead to lower pricing for customers and expanded choice within the jewellers’ supplies market segment.”
Brandt stressed that although HOJ was the smaller of the two wholesalers, the merger was “a merger, not a takeover”.
He said the companies would continue to operate under their existing brand names as “it didn’t make sense to create a new business name when both names have accumulated so much goodwill”.
In the short-term the new company will continue to operate in AJS and HOJ’s Sydney outlets until they settle into one show room.
AJS’s other offices will continue operating as normal in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne.
“A couple of staff members” will lose their positions but the vast majority (around 30 from AJS and four from HOJ) will retain their existing roles to “offer the same levels of service and support that our customers have become accustomed to over the decades of involvement in the jewellery industry”.
Brandt said HOJ’s existing customers would particularly benefit from the new national distribution network: “Our interstate customers will no longer have to order their products from our Sydney office and then freight them across – they will just be able to pick them up, or have then delivered from their state office.”
HOJ first opened for trading in 1977 while AJS was established in the 1980s but can lay claim to a heritage spanning 155 years as it was formed by the amalgamation of a number of companies from around Australia in 1857.
Together the companies will now stock over 10,000 items of tools, equipment, packaging, display, and jewellers and watchmakers’ supplies.