Manchester has always been the centre of the jewellery wholesale business in the UK. Areas such as Cheetham Hill have long played host to jewellery importers, distributers, and wholesalers, and the upsurge in Internet suppliers hasn’t put a dent in this. In many cases, Internet businesses have an offline presence in Manchester (we do ourselves, though it’s only an office).
But the days of jewellery retailers travelling to Manchester to stock up are long past. Walking through the showrooms of the Manchester wholesalers these days is a different experience to what it was ten years ago. Where once there were crowds of small retailers filling shopping trolleys with stock, nowadays you could be the only customer in a huge warehouse.
The Internet and Internet suppliers have eaten away at Manchester’s position as the jewellery capital of the UK. The suppliers are still there, and probably will remain for many years to come, but the pre-eminence of these warehouse based jewellery wholesalers is gone.