All that glitters

Gold attracts all, and with the wedding season here, shoppers are going all-out on buying jewellery. Rising gold prices seem to be the last deterrent. Santosh Srivastava, MD, Gitanjali Jewellery Retail Private Limited shares his insights on jewellery reta
Santosh Srivastava

Gold attracts all, and with the wedding season here, shoppers are going all-out on buying jewellery. Rising gold prices seem to be the last deterrent. Santosh Srivastava, MD, Gitanjali Jewellery Retail Private Limited shares his insights on jewellery retailing. 

Jasmeet Sahi (JS): Gold prices are at an all time high. How does this affect the jewellery retail?
Santosh Srivastava (SS):
Gold prices closed at all-time record over the back of a strong marriage season demand, positive global cues and a weaker dollar in November. When gold prices rise, Indian buyers cut back on jewellery purchases. The Indian tendency has been to hold cash and wait for an opportunity to buy gold at lower prices. But this trend is changing quite rapidly and as the price of gold is rising, people are looking at jewellery using less gold and more diamonds. Today’s buyers are well informed. Unlike a few years back where people bought jewellery that found a place in their banks, people of today buy jewellery that can be worn more frequently. People are shifting from traditional designs to modern designs. So this new pattern is transforming from gold, its making charges, pricing to MRP based product pricing.

JS: Is gold jewellery still a trend or are consumers shifting towards other metals.
India is still predominantly a gold-buying nation but not everyone is complaining about the rising price of gold. Diamond jewellery makers in India are making the most of an unprecedented rise in gold prices, and have seen sales rising smartly this festive season. With gold prices above the key level of Rs18, 000 per 10 grams, investing in the yellow metal - traditionally a safe-haven asset in India - is not being seen as a great option. Demand for diamonds is seen outstripping supply in coming years leading to an across-the-board appreciation in diamond prices and easy resale options in specific category of diamonds. Volatile gold prices have resulted in flat volume growth for gold products and have aided a shift towards higher margin diamond products. Our brands like Gili, Nakshatra, Asmi and D’damas have seen diamond sales rise faster than gold products. 

JS: How does Gitanjali tackle competition in the form of international players coming into the Indian retail scene?
Multi-national jewellery brands are all said to be interested in coming to India following the government's decision to allow foreign direct investment of up to 51 per cent in single brand retail stores.

First Mover Advantage: The Gitanjali Group is overall ahead of rivals because it has been the first, or among the first, to make and break new directions – as an advantage of momentum, it still continues to build on.

Integrated, multi-location operations: The group is active in all stages of the diamond jewellery business, from cutting and polishing rough stones, to design and manufacture of finished jewellery, with manufacturing operations in India, China and Thailand, and distribution points across the country, and in the global orbit, and four continents. 

Skill and technology: Gitanjali’s core strength is the expertise of its artisans in cutting and polishing diamonds, and its jewellery designers and marketing teams in developing market friendly jewellery in tune with shifting user preferences worldwide.

Product range and innovation: The group offers a wide variety of products under different brands in classic, ethnic and modern patterns, suitable for consumers at differing price brackets in line with market demand. At the same time, our design team continually presses ahead with innovations in design and use of various metals- gold, silver, platinum and stainless steel.

Market access and brand support: The group has quickly secured substantial market share. It has launched a growing hamper of targeted brands, with powerful communications and merchandising support. Group concentrates on marketing activities required to capitalise the market at regional, national as well as international level.  

JS: Where all is Gitanjali available to consumers?
The company has a significant presence across the entire jewellery value chain: from sourcing raw materials to selling branded jewellery, every avenue in the industry is covered by the company’s integrated system. Gitanjali is one of the first companies in India to introduce branded jewellery and has a dominant presence in retail jewellery and sells its products in India through its vast network of 1,250 outlets including outlets in host store. Additionally, the company operates 143 retail jewellery stores located across the United States through the acquisitions of Samuel Jewelers and Roger Jewelers and Whitefield in the UK. 

JS: Lot of jewellery retailers are collaborating with celebrities for launching their collections. Has Gitanjali also forayed into this field?
Bringing together highly talented celebrities with renowned jewellery designs will create exciting and innovative business opportunities. The simultaneous benefit to multiple charities, especially in such difficult economic times, makes for a meaningful and lasting impact. As a common man you are always attracted towards the celebrities and we tend to imitate their styles. So when you know a particular star is associated with a brand you believe in whatever they say. Gitanjali Group is the one who has started the trend in branded jewellery segment. From Mr.Bachchan to Salman Khan,Katrina Kaif, Bipasa Basu, Preity Zinta and Kareena Kapoor all are part of Gitanjali’s bouquet of brands. Moreover it’s a two way marketing policy wherein the celebrity as well as the company gets most out of it. I strongly believe that these celebrities give an impetus to the brand and definitely boost the sales. 

JS: Weddings are an elaborate affair in India. What kind of collections can Indian customers look forward to this wedding season?
At Gitanjali we have a tradition of giving the best to the consumer always and keeping with the tradition we have launched new collections targeting the wedding season. Parinita collection which includes wedding necklaces, Mangalsutra’s in diamond as well as Kundan and Mina Kari work is absolute must buy this wedding season. We have also launched the Sagaee collections featuring rings for his and her. Apart from this we have also launched a innovative concept of “Me Design Studio” where consumer can sample through thousands of design themes and concept and choose and customise her own jewellery as per her liking and get it custom manufactured and delivered to her for the occasion. All these collections are available at all Gitanjali Jewels outlets across the country and Gianti luxury stores. 

JS: Lastly, what are the future plans of the company?
There are huge expansion plans, for our flagship store that is ‘Gitanjali Jewels’ (GJ) which is a perfect jewellery destination that wishes to fulfill every conceivable need of the jewellery buyer. GJ is widely spread across to north, west and central India and in some parts of north-east India. We already have around 50 stores and we are planning to add 50 more by the end of this financial year. The company has also tied-up with Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation India (MMTC) and is targeting around 50 stores in FY 09-10 in the name of ‘Shuddhi. Considering the luxury watch segment in India, we would be rolling out franchisees across India which would have brands like Morellato, Chronotech, Nina Ricci, etc which would cater to the upper-middle class and the upper class.  


Santosh Srivastava, MD, Gitanjali