Pendants and bracelets are among the most popular choices for Valentine’s Day gifts as jewellers anticipate healthy sales throughout the year.
As consumer confidence and optimism about economic growth returns to the Emirates, jewellers from the smallest of independent chains to the best-known international brands are expecting to increase their presence here and in the Middle East.
“It should be a good 2014,” said Prashant Shukla, a partner at Eternal Jewels located in the Gold and Diamond Park in Dubai. He said sales in the first three weeks of last month beat his expectations, thanks to the popularity of the Dubai Shopping Festival.
Mr Shukla is currently overseeing the reopening of a store in the Gold and Diamond Park that he had to close in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. He shut two of his three stores in 2009 and 2010. The opening of Almas Jewels will restore his outlets to three.
He expects to open another two or three stores in the run-up to Expo 2020.
“Now if everything goes smoothly, we are looking at a brighter future,” he said.
The jewellers Garrard, Tiffany & Co and the India-based Kalyan are all looking to the Middle East for expansion.
At Chetan, another store in the Gold and Diamond Park, the manager Rajesh Dhanak said sales last month were about 10 per cent better than they were a year earlier.
He has two stores and expects to open two or three more if he can find good locations such as in The Dubai Mall or in any of the five-star hotels that are opening up. In particular, he has his eye set on space in the Rixos Palm Jumeirah hotel.
Consumer confidence in the UAE was 100 in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Nielsen, the market research company. It reached an all-time high of 114 in the third quarter of 2012 and a record low of 97 in the fourth quarter of 2010.
The financial consulting firm Deloitte said in its 2014 Global Powers of Retailing report that the Middle East is the world’s second best performing retail region in terms of growth.
Nikhil Joshi, the manager at Clara Jewellery, said that while business was generally steady, he was noticing a gradual increase of buyers and that Expo 2020 should support that trend.
“Because of the Expo people are thinking more positively … we are getting more business,” he said. “More people will come to live here, there will be development. There is a brighter future for Dubai – not only my shop.”