India's Kalyan Jewellers Q3 profit rises on strong festive demand

BENGALURU, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Kalyan Jewellers India Ltd (KALN.NS)reported a near 11% rise in quarterly profit on improved demand during the festive season and said the ongoing wedding season is pushing sales higher.

Demand picked up in the quarter during the festive season when Indians spend heavily on big-ticket items such as cars, electronic appliances, and jewellery.

The Indian jeweller's consolidated net profit rose to 1.49 billion rupees ($18.02 million) for the third quarter that ended Dec. 31 from 1.35 billion rupees ($16.33 million) a year earlier.

Revenue increased 13% to 38.84 billion rupees, boosted by sales at newly opened showrooms.

The Thrissur, Kerala-based company's revenue from the Middle East, which accounts for 17% of total business, grew 24%. Gross margins improved, led by growth in the studded segment.

The company is "seeing robust momentum" this quarter, despite a sustained increase in gold prices, with the ongoing wedding season - when Indians splurge on gold ornaments - driving consumer visits and revenue, Ramesh Kalyanaraman, executive director, said in a statement.

The jeweller plans to open 52 new showrooms this year and has already hired 900 workers to open more than 20 new stores in time for Akshaya Tritiya - an Indian festival considered auspicious for investments in gold - in April.

Kalyan's earnings outshine its Tata Group-owned larger rival Titan Co Ltd (TITN.NS), which last week reported a surprise fall in profit.

($1 = 82.6930 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Varun Vyas; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil

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