Brexit no obstacle for Watches of Switzerland as it eyes expansion into Europe
Europe is firmly on the radar of luxury retailer Watches of Switzerland. Under a new five-year plan, the group aims to enter the European luxury watch market through acquisitions and new boutiques in a shift away from its previous focus on the UK and US.
Britain’s biggest retailer of Rolex, Cartier, Omega, Tag Heuer and Breitling watches said it believes the EU could account for between 5 per cent and 8 per cent of group revenues by 2026.
It expects the UK’s contribution to group revenues to shrink from 67 per cent to between 44 per cent and 48 per cent as a result of the EU move and further expansion across the US.
America – where the group launched in late 2017 – is set to account for up to 48 per cent of revenues, up from a third currently.
Store numbers still down
“Our customer has accumulated disposable wealth and our category is an attractive option,” said Chief executive Brian Duffy.
“We plan to achieve growth through further geographical diversification, becoming the clear leader in the US market, and establishing a presence in the EU with the targeted roll-out of our proven model,” he added.
Duffy said customer numbers are still down heavily in its 148 stores across the UK and US – down 65 percent in London against 2019 levels.
But he said trading remains strong thanks to online sales and will be boosted further by “freedom day” on July 19 when the remaining Covid restrictions are lifted in the UK and as customers look to spend savings accumulated in lockdowns.
“We’re predicting a bumper Christmas – we think it’s going to be huge,” Duffy said.
“We haven’t had a proper Christmas for a couple of years. The money is there and people will enjoy themselves and indulge.”