LONDON, November 23, 2008 - Joy Alukkas, the Chairman of the Joyalukkas Group, is a veteran in the gold business with over three decades of experience in the retail industry. The Dubai-based Joyalukkas Group has retail branches in the Gulf countries, India, and the up-and-coming Green Street jewellery quarter in London. Jewellery Outlook asks him about business during an economic downturn.
Jewellery Outlook: How was business during Diwali?
Joy Alukkas: Diwali is a very popular festival for all of us and as such there are a number of auspicious events associated with it. Due to the special position of gold amongst all other metals, it is thought to bring good luck when purchased during Diwali.
I am glad to say that in spite of the global crisis atmosphere; people came forward and celebrated the festival in the usual spirit. Of course, the favourable gold rate added to the occasion. Our customer response was extremely positive and we were well ahead of our target doing 40 percent more business than the previous year. In addition to gold, the demand for diamond jewellery was phenomenal and our products did exceedingly well across all Joyalukkas showrooms.
Jewellery Outlook: What are the group's expansion plans? Will you be opening more shops in the UK? What was your thinking behind the recent refurbishment of your stores?
Joy Alukkas: We have always highlighted that customers are the cornerstones of the success achieved by Joyalukkas and we take great care to listen to their needs and demands.
Joy Alukkas, Chairman of the Joyalukkas Group
It is due to our loyal customers and the popularity of Joyalukkas jewellery that we are constantly expanding our presence with new stores across various locations. The aim is to be present in areas that take us closer to our valued customers, so that jewellery shopping is convenient and comfortable.
Our UK customers have shown tremendous interest in our products and we do see the need to increase our presence there. So yes, adding more Joyalukkas stores in the UK is definitely in our plans and we will act on it at the right time. Joyalukkas is continuously making efforts to offer more convenience and ease of shopping for jewellery connoisseurs. The revamping of stores is a step in that direction, as our aim is to provide more comfort and choice to even the most demanding jewellery fashionistas.
Jewellery Outlook: The Joyalukkas Group has a large jewellery showroom in Chennai (India). What led you to make this major investment? Why Chennai? How are sales going there?
Joy Alukkas: Many would agree that Chennai is one of the most popular jewellery hubs of the world.The city offers immense potential for gold and jewellery and it is natural that being in the business we would take this opportunity.
Opening the world’s largest Joyalukkas jewellery showroom in Chennai is a very important milestone for our company.And I am happy to say that Chennai customers have welcomed this initiative wholeheartedly. heir response is terrific and they are constantly encouraging us to introduce more and more products to cater to their varied requirements.
Jewellery Outlook: The world is facing its worst financial crisis in almost 80 years. What impact will this have for the global jewellery business and for the Joyalukkas Group?
Joy Alukkas: Yes, these are difficult times in the world economy not only for the gold and jewellery sector, but for the entire spectrum of industries across the globe. The impact can be seen in the day-to-day lives of individuals.
Likewise the effect has been felt by Joyalukkas Group as well. Our jewellery business is always influenced by the volatile gold price and therefore this is not a sudden situation for us.Due to the present downturn and market instability, customers feel safer buying jewellery because it is a long term store of value.
The occurrence of such financial situations is unavoidable at some point in time; however, it is a cycle and will soon turn around. Optimism, determination and foresight are definitely the order of the day.
Jewellery Outlook: Are more customers turning to gold jewellery purchases as a safe haven in the current uncertain economic climate? What is the impact of the economic crisis on demand for diamond jewellery in India and the Gulf countries?
Joy Alukkas: Customers feel safer buying jewellery because of its long term stability in value. The global crisis has in fact increased the sale of gold and diamond jewellery.
Jewellery Outlook: Joyalukkas has launched B2B Solutions, dedicated towards customising corporate gifting solutions in precious materials, including gold. How are sales in Joyalukkas B2B Solutions going? How will you market this business segment?
Joy Alukkas: We all know that gold makes a great impression and that's why everyone loves to own some. Gold also has a certain emotional quotient attached to it and is well entrenched, especially in the Indian customer's mind. It is a metal that never gives contentment: the more one possesses gold, the more one craves it. Moreover, gold is gifted to those who are very close to us.
These are some of the reasons why we started the B2B division as an opportunity to offer gold as a corporate gift for various industries. This new division has been created to grow the market for gold related gifting within the corporate segment.
Gold occupies a unique position and can therefore go a long way in helping companies reach out not only to the customers, but also to their employees. When an employer gifts gold to his/her employee, it gives an impression that they are very close. Be it employees, partners, customers etc there is nothing better to reward them with than an item in gold.
Our B2B division boasts of specialists who offer tailored solutions to meet every corporate need. We have many innovations, such as a USB created in gold as a gift item. We have received extremely positive responses from our corporate customers and are currently undertaking many projects for various international firms.