LONDON, June 2, 2009 – The Joyalukkas retail jewellery group, which spans India, the Middle East and the UK, is expanding vigorously into new markets and plans a partial listing in 2011, its owner and Chairman Joy Alukkas says.
Joy Alukkas, Chairman, Joyalukkas
In a rare media interview, Alukkas said the group was focusing primarily on demand for 22-carat gold jewellery from its core Asian clientele, and was responding to an increasing taste for diamond jewellery at Asian weddings.
Despite the global downturn, the jewellery market outlook was already improving in Joyalukkas’s main markets, the Chairman said.
“We are targeting 100 outlets in 10 countries by December 2010,” Joy Alukkas said in a wide-ranging, exclusive interview with Jewellery Outlook at the group’s store in Green Street, a thriving community of retail jewellers in east London where there is a large British-Asian market.
“In India there is no recession for gold jewellery. If marriages are there, business is there.”
Alukkas said the recent high price of gold had been less of a deterrent to demand than the volatility in the gold price, but the volatility had now abated.
“Volatility was a much bigger problem than (high) prices,” he said.
Now, even in the Gulf countries, which have been hard hit by a property slump, jewellery sales are rising.
“Now business in the Middle East is picking up,” he said.
But he said banks in the Middle East had tightened availability of credit due to the real estate crisis.
Joyalukkas, which currently has 72 stores, plans to add 28 more by the end of 2010.
As a result of the rapid expansion, total group turnover is expected to double to around $2 billion in retail sales in the year to March 2011, from $1 billion in the year to March 2010.
Most of the new stores will be in India.
“In the banks in India, the money (for expansion projects) is there,” Alukkas said.
The group is also planning to add retail outlets in the United States, possibly in New Jersey or New York, and in either Yemen or Egypt.
Joyalukkas opened two new stores in Qatar in May 2009, and also has its eye on several new shops in the UK in the next two years, including in Southall, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.
The group plans to list 25 percent of its equity in 2011, most likely on the stock exchange in Dubai or London, Alukkas said. He presently owns 100 percent of the Joyalukkas group.
Alukkas said he planned to take full advantage of young Asians’ growing tastes for diamond jewellery sets at weddings.
“It is a generational effect,” he said, predicting that diamond jewellery sales as a percentage of the group’s total turnover
would rise to 15 percent this year from 13 percent last year. “We see a switchover from gold to diamonds,” he added.
THE FUTURE ONLINE
Joyalukkas plans to experiment with online sales of diamond jewellery pieces retailing for under $1,000 each, and expects to launch sales through its website from October 2009, the Chairman said.
Delivery of online orders would be handled through offices in New York, London, Dubai and India (Chennai). The Joyalukkas group is also active in B2B projects, and has launched a variety of schemes to increase footfall to its stores.
In the longer term, Joy Alukkas aims to develop the group as a global brand, serving the 22-carat gold and diamond jewellery requirements of the Indian diaspora around the world.