U.S. and India sales good in fourth quarter, says Gitanjali head

Strong sales in the United States and better-than-expected sales in India led to a "fair" fourth quarter of 2012, said Gitanjali Gems Chairman and Managing Director Mehul Choksi.

"Considering all the markets, India, America and Japan have been fair," Choksi tells India's Economic Times newspaper. "There has been a little slowdown in Europe in particular, but other than that, it has been fair. Particularly, American sales have grown tremendously in the month of December, which has contributed nearly 3 percent of the top line for the whole year. It was nearly 11 percent higher sales in America for the month of December, and Indian sales have been steadily growing, much better than expected. In the last quarter, it has done very well."

Choksi said the first four months of 2012 were slow, but the final quarter of the year had been extremely strong, aided by the rising popularity of modern jewelry.

As for this year, the jewelry manufacturer and retailer will be concentrating on very high value stores, Choksi said. Gitanjali Jewels will have around 100 stores, while its Maya jewelry brand will have about 25 shops and Gitanjali is planning to add another 15-20 stores in its Maya and Gitanjali Jewels brands.

"We are planning to go for very large format stores as far as these brands are concerned and also for [jewelry brands] Nakshatra and Gili, there is going to be major expansion for the retail shops," he explains. "They both have reached approximately 25 to 30 shops and they will be adding up another 15-20 stores this year. There is going to be penetration for the worldwide business because we feel America and Japan will contribute further and the Dubai market too."

He said that Gitanjali Brands Limited for the Indian market grew at a 50-60 percent pace last year. "Our international arm also … and the factories in China, will complete about US$500 million turnover this year and the Indian brands of course, the Indian local manufacturing has expanded also very largely, once we have diversified into gold areas. So the gold jewellery wholesaling has been very prominent too," he says.

Choksi said that demand worldwide had not grown much this year, however he was more optimistic about this year. "Value-wise, it has probably increased by 8-10 percent, but volume wise, it has not increased. But I personally feel that 2013 will bring a lot of volume back.