Dhanteras and the marriage season are barely two months away but most jewellery shops in the capital are sporting a deserted look.
Trying to reason the dip in customers, Ram Kumar, the owner of Swarn Shilp Jewellers in Bakarganj, on Sunday said: “Sale of ornaments has been affected because of the meteoric rise in gold prices. We hardly had any sale throughout the day. Customers are avoiding buying jewellery.”
Kumar added even though most other jewellery shops were closed, he and his salespersons were forced to “just sit and wait” for customers the entire day.
“After the gold prices breached the Rs 31,000-mark, sales have gone down by over 70 per cent. Most of the customers hail from middle-class and lower middle-class backgrounds,” Ram said, adding that buyers are opting for lighter jewellery.
Gold prices have seen a maddening rise since the end of July, when 10 grams of 22 carat gold cost Rs 30,300. (See chart)
Bharat Mehta, the secretary of Patliputra Sarafa Sangh, has a slightly different opinion.
“Most of the customers from the middle- and lower-middle classes have been affected by the escalating price of gold. However, big showrooms are still witnessing good sales. Once the prices go down, sales would increase again. People belonging to the lower-middle class are not able to buy much gold now. Instead, they are selling ornaments,” he said.
Amit Gupta, the owner of Alankar Jewellers & Brothers at Hathwa Market attributed the plummeting sales to the sharp fall in the purchasing power of customers. “Many people are selling off their gold ornaments because they are getting good prices. But the rate will rise further,” he said.
The marriage season is barely two months away and the surge in prices has affected the budget of many families.
“My daughter Parul’s marriage is slated for February next year. How can we buy gold ornaments at such a high rate? I never thought the prices would surge to this extent in such a short period of time. Now, I will have to settle for less jewellery,” said Parmeshwar Pandey, adding that the salaried class had to bear the brunt of the gold price rise.
However, Dr Nagma Anjum was lucky, mainly because she had planned things almost three years in advance. “Had we not purchased some gold ornaments three years ago, today we would have had to shell out Rs 2.5 lakh for jewellery that cost us Rs 1 lakh then,” Anjum said.