Gold remains down, Automobile sales accelerate, post flood impact

One year after the floods, it has been a mixed set of performance witnessed by various business segments in the Valley during this period.

Gold remains down, automobile sales accelerate, post flood impactWhile the jewellery sales mostly remained low, the floods came as a blessing in disguise for the auto-mobile sector, especially car segment where the business has gone up because people opted for car exchange in lieu of their damaged vehicles.

GOLD BUSINESS Bashir Rather, President, All Kashmir Gold Association says that gold sales have witnessed a negative 15 – 20 per cent growth since September last year as compared to corresponding period a year earlier.

He added: “ A customer who earlier used to purchase 50 grams of gold on a particular occasion is now settling down for just 10 to 15 grams.” “ Customer who would buy a ring of 4- 5 grams goes now for one or two gram ring,” Rather explained.

Another goldsmith, Showkat Hussain said the jewellers in the Valley faced huge losses during the floods. “ Apart from the glass cases, cabinets, platforms, and other decorative items in the shops, the jewellers lost the CCTV cameras and other costly equipment in the floods.” “ Then in the post- floods there was total depression in the trade. Fluctuating global prices of gold also played havoc with this trade,” he said.

With prices of gold hovering at Rs 26,650 for 24 karats and Rs 25,000 for 22 karat per ten gram, jewellers are finding it get some good business. Mushtaq Ahmad of Saudi Ornaments said: “ Purchasing power of buyers has gone low.” However, Ahmad is optimistic that the sales will increase in the next year.

Among other sectors that have received a jolt by the floods includes ready made garments, home appliances and kids’ products.

“ All these segments have seen almost 20 – 25 per cent drop in sales in wholesale as well as retail trade,” Muhammad Sadiq Baqal, businessman and president, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Association ( KTMF), said.

“ There has been no announcement of any rehabilitation package during last one year. This is the reason observed September 7 as black day. Government is purchasing cars worth lakhs of rupees for MLA and ministers but does not have any sympathy for the traders,” Baqal said.

AUTO-MOBILE The floods have proved a blessing in disguise for the auto-mobile sector, Mushtaq Wani, GM, Sales and Marketing Jamkash, said.

“ There has been an unexpected growth of 20 – 25 per cent in the car sales which is mainly due to insurance claims. Our marketing teams met all customers after floods whom we had not contacted for several months,” Wani said.

According to Wani, Maruti’s parent company Maruti Suzuki India Limited ( MSIL) had supplied almost 2000- 2500 cars to the Valley in the wake of floods.

In addition, Maruti had sent across 200 mechanics to the Valley for two months after floods to undertake all sorts of mechanical problems with vehicles, he said.

“ MSIL paid for the mechanics and launched many consumer offers that helped us to woo customers.

The flood and other factors helped to register growth. We expect further growth during next six months.” Muzafffar Ahmad, Sales Manager, Highland Auto-mobiles says the first three months after floods witnessed low sales but “ sales improved by almost 15 – 20 per cent January 2015 onwards,”. Zaffar Iqbal, who is now chief executive officer Nissan was associated with Renault at the time of floods. Iqbal said Renault faced losses of up to Rs 2 crore since many ‘ brand new cars’ at its showroom were damaged beyond repairs.

“ We had to sell damaged cars in scrap while our neighbouring showroom Crest Hyundai suffered losses to 65 brand new cars. Thankfully we managed to save human lives but dissatisfaction of customers after floods was a dampener,” Iqbal said.

Asif Shah, DGM, Sales KC Hyundai said several months after the floods were hectic for the auto-mobile sector since insurance claims of customers had to be settled . “ For three months after floods there were hardly any sales but abruptly there was a jump thereafter.

People sold old vehicles to purchase new models such as Grand, i20 and latest Creta”, he said.

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