Watches of Switzerland today says first-half ecommerce sales continue to grow fast, even now that its shops are open again. Some 40% of UK sales, it says, now come through its ‘by personal appointment’ service, which spans in-store, virtual and telephone sessions, while multichannel retailing has helped it grow domestic sales fast over the last two years. The retailer is now upgrading its full-year sales and profits expectations.
The luxury watch and jewellery retailer, ranked Top500 in RXUK Top500 research, today says in a second quarter trading statement that group revenue is set to come in at £586.2m in the six months to October 31 – 44.6% higher than the same time a year earlier, and 40.8% higher than the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.
Group ecommerce sales are 28.7% higher than a year ago, even though Watches of Switzerland stores have been fully open throughout the first half of the year.
In the UK, business is well ahead both of the same time last year (+42.3% to £418.6m) and the previous year (+31.8%). The retailer is now to upgrade stores in Canterbury and Reading to a new Goldsmiths Luxury concept, while refurbishing another five UK stores and opening three single-brand boutiques in Plymouth.
US revenues of £167.6m were 50.2% higher than a year earlier and 66.7% higher than two years ago. The retailer has agreed to buy five shops in four new US states, taking its total US store network to 36 – including 22 multi-brand and 14 mono-brand stores.
In the second quarter of the year alone, Watches of Switzerland group revenue of £288.7m was 9.9% higher than the same time last year. Looking ahead, the retailer now expects to turn over between £1.15bn an £1.2bn in the current year, with earnings between 1% and 1.5% higher than last year.
Watches of Switzerland chief executive Brian Duffy says: “We are very pleased with our first half performance. Over the last two years, we have demonstrated the versatility of our multichannel model with a more than doubling of sales to domestic clients and within this half year, a significant change in brand mix.
“We have enjoyed re-connecting with customers in our stores whilst further elevating the experience by retaining several initiatives and enhancements introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have further expanded the luxury watch and jewellery virtual boutique in the UK, continued to grow the ’by personal appointment’ business which now accounts for approximately 40% of UK sales and continued to enhance CRM, clienteling and digital marketing initiatives. Our teams have been fantastic in embracing all modes of customer engagement, driving growth across all channels throughout this period.”
The retailer says it is well stocked for peak trading.
Watches of Switzerland sells online and, as of October 31, through 158 shops UK and US shops, including 46 single-brand luxury watch shops.