Dhanteras is believed to bring good fortune to everyone and gold and diamond jewellers are hoping for some as well this year. Hit by demonetization last November and then by GST this year, jewellery retailers are only hopeful of a turnaround on the occasion of Dhanteras on October 17, to be able to make a comeback towards the end of the year. “We have experienced major setbacks in July, August and September and now we are anticipating a good Dhanteras turnout and purchases at the stores,” said Subhankar Sen, the executive director of Senco Gold and Diamonds. The gold jewellery market has been going through a rough patch since last year when traders went on indefinite strike protesting against the directive of KYC compliance for purchasing gold worth Rs 50,000 and above. Buyers were expected to produce PAN cards and other identification when purchasing gold of high value. The strike was called off at the beginning of the festive season last year after which the market looked up for two months before demonetization dealt another blow. “Since the retail market is going through a rough patch, we are expecting more conservative purchases this year. I think, if we perform as we did last year or even close to that, it will be great,” said Sen. Gold prices are also on the up and are expected to rise during Dhanteras.
Like all other sectors, GST also hit gold jewellery retail in July. Gold jewellery purchase will incur a 3 per cent tax. “Middle class families have been affected the most by government moves. Many of those who made occasional purchases through the year did not make those purchases this year,” said the manager of Ishika Jewellers, a small trader in Bowbazar, the traditional hub of gold jewellery retailers in Calcutta. “Dhanteras is an auspicious occasion and people indulge in compulsive buying on that day, even if it is just a gold coin. Those who cannot afford heavy jewellery, purchase lightweight pieces like rings or earrings and pendant sets,” said the manager.
As the well-known jewellery stores have already floated discounts and offers on purchases to attract customers, the rush is gradually picking up at the stores. “I like to come and survey the market a little in advance. If I like something I make an advance payment and come back on Dhanteras day to pay in full and pick up the piece,” said Sharmistha Gupta, a resident of Shyambazar who does her gold shopping in Bowbazar.
“Our lightweight collection, Everlites, has already started moving in the pre-Dhanteras days. We get a good response in this section even during Dhanteras. Heavy bridal jewellery on the other hand moves slowly, since most women don’t like very heavy jewellery even for weddings and families usually make do with their inheritances. Young girls prefer to take light jewellery for everyday wear after marriage,” said Sen.