Thrissur-based Kalyan Jewellers is one of the largest gold retailers with 137 showrooms across India and the West Asia. Private equity firm Warburg Pincus invested Rs 1,700 crore in Kalyan in two tranches. Rajesh Ravi of FE talks to CMD TS Kalyanaraman on the issues related to pandemic and future plans of the company. Excerpts:
What was the impact of the pandemic on jewellery sales?
The global pandemic has had a huge impact on the world economy and the jewellery sector was not immune to this dynamic market situation. Around 80% of our showrooms are currently operational and we are witnessing normalcy as far as footfalls are concerned. Sales have picked up and we are almost close to the same-store performance of this time last year.
A segment of those customers are wedding shoppers, who are aware of rising prices and making purchases for their ‘at home’ weddings. Some others purchased the gold ownership certificate this Akshaya Tritiya. We are also witnessing a surge in people exchanging old gold jewellery for newer pieces, and pre-booking jewellery, anticipating that prices could shoot up further during the festival season.
Gold prices have risen sharply in recent past. What is the impact?
The constant increase in the price of gold has only instilled more faith in the minds of consumers about gold being a bankable investment option. With DIY or intimate weddings emerging as a trend, wedding-related expenses on venue booking, catering, etc have reduced and customers have more disposable income, which is now being used to investing in gold jewellery.
What is the outlook for coming months?
The market is stabilsing and pre-book orders which we have received for redemption in the upcoming festive season also indicate that the revenue is going to be almost at par with the previous year. We expect more shift from unorganized to organized players because customers would prefer to shop in standalone outlets where strict hygiene protocols are followed and the carpet area of the showroom by virtue of size allows social distancing.
We have also made it convenient for our customers to browse through and even purchase gold jewellery from the comfort of their homes.
Have online sales increased due to the pandemic?
Kalyan Jewellers’s e-commerce partner http://www.candere.com has seen a spike in engagement as well as tractions with 3X growth since the start of this year. Our live video shopping facility is also getting good traction and the conversion rate is very high.
What are the future plans of the company? Has it changed in light of the pandemic?
We have been consistently working towards expanding our brand footprint across the country. Kalyan now operates out of 19 states. We have had expansion plans for this financial year which would have started in the first quarter. But, taking into account the dynamic market situation due to the pandemic, we have postponed our launch plans. Currently, we are looking at the fourth quarter to resume these plans.