Jewellery players upbeat on local market


Chan Boon Yong

RETAIL jewellery outlets are mushrooming in Malaysia, especially in the Klang Valley. In the face of more intense competition, the retail jewellery players still remain fairly optimistic about the Malaysian market. 

“We welcome competition as it is good for the market and consumers. In our case market positioning is the key, specialising and focusing on our niche market, which is the higher-end fine jewellery market,” said Degem Bhd executive director Stephen Choong. 

He said that the outlook for the retail jewellery market was good, with the government encouraging consumer spending and Malaysians finding it customary to spend during special occasions and festive seasons.  

Choong said the market was actually expanding as proven by the company’s turnover in the last two years.  

“We have achieved a growth of over 10% for 2002,” he said, adding that the company’s unaudited pre-tax profit for the first nine months of 2002 was RM11mil compared to RM9.8mil in 2001. 

He said DeGem, the holding company for PYT Jewellers and Diamond and Platinum Sdn Bhd, had shown an overall improvement in sales since last Hari Raya.  

Irne Yong

Selberan Jewellery Sdn Bhd operations manager Irene Yong said the outlook of the retail jewellery market depended on the economy as a whole.  

“With the spectre of war between the US and Iraq and the global effects of the slow American economy, I am cautiously optimistic about the outlook in 2003,” she said. 

According to Yong, Selberan, which has 80% of its products in diamond jewellery and the exclusive distributor of Lazare Diamonds, had fairly good sales for the last six months, especially during the year-end, which was its peak period.  

She said the company expected a growth of 3% to 5% in turnover for 2003.  

Yong is not worried about the increasing number of jewellery retail outlets as she feels the market is a good deciding factor on who will remain in the long run.  

“We have gained the trust of our customers, our quality and design speak for itself,” she added. 

Diamond retailer The Carat Club's managing director Chan Boon Yong said the retail jewellery market was definitely overcrowded. “You need to define and service your particular niche to compete,” Chan said, adding that the retail jewellery scene was challenging and highly competitive but there were still opportunities out there. 

He said the company was ex- pecting some growth this year but global uncertainties were worrying. 

Chan said Malaysia had a young population and there would be growth, especially in the bridal category, in the long term. He added that demand would also grow with increasing prosperity in the country. 

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