29 Feb 2020
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The Growing Network of Asian Jewellers in London
London Jewellery Retail - Analysis
By: Diamond World News Service
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Oct 24 2019 4:05PM
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Reference: 22557  

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Jojan Thomas, Joy Alukkas
Jojan Thomas, Joy Alukkas
The jewellery retail scenario in Asian dominated areas looks underdeveloped and primitive as compared to rest of London. Visiting jewellery markets in Southall and the Green street gives you a feeling as if you are Delhi’s Karol Bagh market.
All the jewellery stores in these areas have two sliding doors that are locked from inside. One has to press the bell in order to enter a store. There have been increasing instances of armed robberies at retail outlets that has necessitated the need for caution.

With the exception of Joy Alukkas, all jewellery stores are mom and pop stores. Joy Alukkas set up a store on the Green Street way back in 2009. Their store is comparatively smaller as compared to any of their stores you find in an Indian city. Visuals of film start Kajol adorn the stores and there are danglers announcing the Big Summer Sale offering 0 per cent deduction on old gold exchange. Jojan Thomas, the showroom manager informed me that the store has been in operation for the last ten years. It has been doing reasonably well. The clientele of this store is predominantly Bengali Muslims of Bangladeshi origin who prefer to buy plain gold jewellery. As 85 per cent of the customers are Bengalis, the store is stocked with plain gold jewellery. They prefer to get married in the UK. Weddings are big buying occasions. The fastest moving product categories are bangles and chains. Joy Alukkas’ brand ambassador Kajol finds an instant connect with Bengalis.

British Bangladeshis are people of Bangladeshi origin who have attained citizenship in the United Kingdom, through immigration and historical naturalisation. During the 1970s, large numbers of Bangladeshis immigrated to the UK, primarily from the Sylhet Division in north-eastern Bangladesh. The largest concentration lives in east London boroughs, such as Tower Hamlets. They buy gold jewellery for adornment and investment.

Thomas informed me that 100 per cent of their stocks are imported from their Dubai office. Joy Alukkas has been contemplating opening their second store in Southall. They advertise primarily on Bangladeshi TV channels and it has proved beneficial for them.
Most of the other jewellery stores on Green Street are owned by Gujarati jewellers from Kathiyawad who migrated to London via East Africa. Vikram Santilal of Jeram Jewellers is one such jeweller whose ancestors migrated from Madagascar. He is an active member of the Green Street Jewellers Association (GSJA). Vikram has been trying to bring innovation in designs and choice of materials and precious stones. He informed me that Bangladeshi women are decision makers when it comes to buying jewellery. Self-purchase is common among Bangladeshi Muslim Women who have high disposable income as they get Meher or mandatory payment from their husbands when they get married. By focusing on design and diamonds, Vikram has been able to improve his margins in a market that is characterised by high volumes and low margins.

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