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Watches of Switzerland limits damage thanks to local customers

Sales slipped 86.8% in May, but began to recover in June (+ 0.3%) and clearly rose in July (+ 7.4%).

Watch retailer Watches of Switzerland suffered a sharp drop in revenue in the first quarter, but local demand helped limit the decline due to the coronavirus pandemic. The month of July, when most stores were reopened, also recorded an increase.

From the end of April to the end of July, a period covering the first quarter of its staggered 2020/21 fiscal year, the turnover of the British company selling watches from major Swiss watchmaking houses such as Rolex, Breitling and Audemars Piguet fell by 27 , 6% to 151.6 pounds (180.7 million francs), due to the closure of shops.

Stores in the UK and US were only open 38% of their normal hours, due to containment measures taken in the watch retailer’s two markets.

July, the first month in which most of the brands were back in operation, sales increased 7.4% year-on-year, June grabbed 0.3% and in May revenues fell by 86.8%, said the retailer, which has not made any job cuts or pay cuts.

Online sales in the first quarter jumped 79.3% on a year.

Since the reopening, the number of customers in the boutiques has certainly decreased, but the conversion rate has grown and the main watch brands are supplying the retailer well.

In the United Kingdom, the main market with 108.3 million revenue (-30.1%), purchases by local customers (+ 20.4%) partially offset the absence of tourists, especially in London, and business at airports (-92.8%).

In the United States, the second outlet, the decline in turnover was limited to 20.4% to 43.3 million, thanks to the rebound of 27% observed in July.

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