Malabar Gold announces Rs 2000 crore store expansion plan

The company's first mall, claimed will the largest in Kerala, will come up in Thiruvananthapuram shortly

Jewellery chain, Malabar Gold & Diamonds plans to open 80 more stores this fiancial year with an investment of Rs 2000 crore, as the company expects better sales after the new uniform taxation regime GST from next month.

According to M P Ahammed, Chairman, Malabar Gold, said, " 75 per cent will be debt from banks and the remaining Rs 500 crore will be internal accruals."

Ahammed told PTI, "Of the 80 stores planned this year, 40 will come up in the Gulf markets and 10 in other markets like Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Singapore. Lanka will be first new overseas market. In the domestic market, we will open 30 more stores."

Its 95 overseas showrooms are spread across six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and Singapore and Malaysia, and the chain is on course to enter Sri Lanka and Hong Kong soon.

The group, which is also into real estate, has clocked Rs 26000 crore in revenue in fiscal 2017, up from Rs 21000 crore a year ago.

Ahammed said, "Of this, Rs 1000 crore came in from realty business, into which it has drawn up plans to invest Rs 10000 crore over the next few years. The company's first mall, claimed will the largest in Kerala, will come up in Thiruvananthapuram shortly.

On non-jewellery expansion plans, he said the company will be opening its electronics retail outlets in Kochi and the state capital by Onam.

He firther added, "For the proposed expansion, the company will be hiring over 1000 professionals, including over 400 in the GCC markets and 600 in the country, taking its total head count to over 10000 by the end of this year."

Ahammed said that he expects jewellery sales to clip at 10- 20 per cent this year on the back of lower taxes under GST.

In Kerala, which is its mainstay in the domestic market, he said taxes will come down by almost 2 percentage points to 3 per cent under GST, which should increase sales.

He said that the company on an average sells around 75 kg of gold/diamond jewellery a day in Kerala, which should go up as the prices will come down after the GST is rolled out.

He said, "GST alone cannot make the gold market more transparent, instead the government should crackdown on unofficial/ unbilled sales which today constitute around 75 per cent of the industry in the country."

He added, "Malabar sells only against a bill and also only BIS-hallmarked 916 gold, IGI-certified diamond jewellery, PGI-certified platinum jewellery and hallmarked silver jewellery."