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British Luxury Retailer to sell Jamaican Coffee

Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited's has landed a distribution deal with Harvey Nichols.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday, April 19, 2012 – British luxury retailer Harvey Nichols is now distributing Jablum coffee in its six stores across the United Kingdom and the homes of its 170,000 online shoppers.

This boost for the signature Blue Mountain Coffee product line of the Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited's (MBCF) is part of a strategy by the Jamaican company to grow its European sales from the current five per cent to about 15 to 20 per cent of total sales.

This was revealed recently by Mavis Bank CEO Norman Grant who has come out publicly and stated that the company's strategy over the next five to 10 years is to grow the sales in European market for both the MBCF brand of green Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee beans and Jablum roasted coffee, and the listing with Harvey Nichols is a means toward that end.

Mavis Bank is the registered owner of the Jablum trademark, and its products are offered for sale in Japan, China, South Korea, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and the Caribbean.

Grant said the listing with Harvey Nichols was finalised at the end of March, but declined to disclose the terms of the partnership.

In a media release, Grant said the deal was the result of "a very long, diligent and committed discussions with Harvey Nichols with and through one of our representatives in the UK, House of Blue Mountain. This recent listing is in keeping with the company's thrust to diversify the Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee market and to focus also on the expansion of the value added chain. The listing will also see the brand strategically positioned to contribute to increased sales and brand building and recognition during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, scheduled for July 27 to August 12, 2012," Grant said.

In turn, Emiley Taylor, spokeswoman for Harvey Nichols said in a release announcing the deal: "Harvey Nichols is excited to launch Jablum - Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, a 100 per cent pure and unblended coffee with a uniquely deep, rich and authentically Jamaican taste.”

Mavis Bank made JAM$700 million in sales in 2010 - the last year for which data are available - down 30 per cent on sales of $1 billion in 2009. The operation was sold last October to the Jamaica Producers Group/Pan Jamaican consortium.

The coffee producer has been working for some time to diversify its market away from major market Japan, which has registered declining coffee purchases in the wake of first the global recession and then last year’s devastating earthquake/tsunami.

MBCF, the largest local processor of Blue Mountain Coffee, reportedly earned J$36 million profit in less than three months for its new owners.

The factory processes on average 1.4 million pounds of green beans annually from coffee cherry berries, representing approximately 30 per cent of Jamaica's Blue Mountain Coffee output.