In 1959 the first overseas COURTS store was established in the Western Hemisphere - in the island of Jamaica. That year, the company started with only one branch at Cross Roads, in the country’s capital city, Kingston. At that time COURTS sold primarily furniture and a small range of appliances.
From its introduction over 40 years ago, COURTS has expanded in Jamaica from 1 store in Cross Roads, to 27 stores islandwide and there are plans to open additional stores over the next few years.
The company has found its way into the hearts and homes of many Jamaicans and its name is now synonymous with affordable furniture and appliances and innovative promotions. COURTS has been a market leader since its inception and its bright yellow, red and blue buildings dominate the capitals of every parish in the island.
Hayden Singh, MD Courts (Jamaica) Ltd
COURTS was first quoted on the Jamaican Stock Exchange in 1969 and is a subsidiary of Courts P.L.C. of the United Kingdom which started operations in England in 1850.
Since opening in Jamaica, other overseas COURTS stores have been opened in 18 countries in the Caribbean, Far East and Pacific. Presently, there are over 300 stores worldwide, with a COURTS store open and trading every minute of the day.
When COURTS opened in Jamaica in 1959, 80% of the furniture sold by the company was imported. The company eventually shifted its emphasis to locally manufactured furniture as soon as it could establish a manufacturing base on which it could build its supplies. Currently, over 80% of the funds spent on furniture purchases goes toward the purchase of locally made furniture.
COURTS realised that the shift to more locally produced furniture would aid in the development of Jamaica’s furniture industry and encourage local craftsmen to manufacture products to meet international standards of quality and design.
Over the years, COURTS has sought to make owning furniture and appliances more affordable for its customers by constantly improving its credit terms. In May 2001, the company launched its new credit Options plans, giving customers the choice of 4 new payment methods for buying on credit.
The COURTS Consumer Charter first launched in 1996, is another signature achievement by the company, marking the introduction of new standards in customer service and product offerings within the industry.
COURTS is a major player in the Jamaican economy - as purchasers and traders of locally produced products from indigenous manufacturers; as an employer directly and indirectly of thousands in insurance, advertising, media, transport and banking industries; as a very profitable company; and a major contributor to government revenue in consumption sales income and corporate profit taxes.
It can be credited for:
- Expansion of the local furniture-manufacturing sector - by encouraging its suppliers to improve their production levels and enhance the quality of their output. During 1997 for instance, the company secured at its own expense, the services of three consultants from the Canadian Executive Services Overseas (C.E.S.O.) to assist its manufacturers with improved working practices and increased efficiency. The initiative was so successful that it is still in progress today.
- Providing direct employment - in the areas of marketing, sales, accounting, administration and delivery.
- Making significant contributions to communities in which the company operates in the areas of education, health, culture and sports.
- Stimulating the long-term development of the local furniture industry,. As the largest furniture retailer in Jamaica, COURTS believes in encouraging the manufacturing industry to improve and re-invest in itself. The company launched a Furniture Investment for National Development programme (F.I.N.D.) aimed at protecting domestic manufacturers from the threat of destructive large-scale imports thereby securing jobs in Jamaica. The programme benefits local manufacturers by enhancing competitive pricing, encouraging improved quality of production through training seminars, offering greater economies of scale through group raw material and equipment purchasing, and identifying capital funding.
Courts will continue to grow from strength to strength offering the Jamaican public not only quality products at competitive prices but also exceptional customer care and service which are important ingredients for its success.
The company has done over 40 exceptional years in Jamaica and looks forward to continuing a long and successful operation.