HYDERABAD: It is the ‘Gold Rush’ of the 21st century—an annual affair preceding the Deepavali festivities that never fails to goad people to empty their pockets into the coffers of jewellery marts.
Thanks to the unexpected fall in gold price despite the stock market crash, seasonal craving for the yellow metal peaked on Sunday.
Jewellery showrooms in the twin cities donned the look of vegetable markets, with desperate crowds thronging their counters, steps and parking lots.
Dhantheras, the contrivance by jewellery merchants to improve sales, also played its part in luring customers.
“I save the whole year to spend on this day. And rarely do you get an occasion like this, when despite the recession and spiralling demand, gold rate comes down,” says Smriti Reddy, a call centre employee.
Most of the jewellery stores struggled hard with insufficient staff and space. Showroom managers looked helpless while a few customers returned after prolonged wait.
“Gold price has plummeted to Rs.1124 from the Rs.1300-Rs.1400 per gram a few days ago.
This, in the festival season, contributed to the mad rush,” says Gopi, an employee of Tanishq outlet at Punjagutta.
Branded showrooms were busy replenishing their shelves with occasion-specific jewellery.
Ornaments with semi-precious stones flew off the shelves in a jiffy.
“Sales have shot up four-fold and individual purchases are exceeding 200 to 300 grams,” reveals Sangeevi, the showroom head of Khazana Jewellery, Somajiguda.
A few customers wanting to acquire token quantity of gold on the festive occasion had to face an irksome situation, with the showroom staff devoting their eyes and ears to bigger purchases.
“I am in the habit of buying a gold coin every Deepavali. But here, the salesmen are busy attending only to large wallets,” protests G.Satyavathi, a homemaker from Begumpet.
“Even after selection, I had to wait for an hour to pay my bill,” says M.Murugan, a civil contractor who bought gold worth Rs.30,000.
However, there was not much of a rush at jewellery shops in Abids and other areas. Industry leaders claimed of a 40 per cent reduction in sales when compared to previous year.
Though crowds remained the same, quantities bought per head came down considerably, they said.