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Watches of Switzerland reports strong UK online growth

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Watches of Switzerland has reported online sales up by a fifth as demand for luxury watches exceeded supply, particularly over the festive season. 

The retailer, ranked Top500 in RXUK Top500 research, says it expects strong demand to continue despite the coronavirus outbreak. 

Overall, the retailer reported group revenue was up by 12.8% to £257.9m in the third quarter of its financial year, to January 26. Sales on a like-for-like measure, that strips out the effect of store and business openings and closures, grew by 6.8% across the UK and the US. UK online sales grew by a fifth (20.8%). 

In the year-to-date, the 39 weeks to the same date, group revenue of £686.6m was 15.6% ahead of last time. 

Watches of Switzerland chief executive Brian Duffy said sales were in line with expectations, thanks to “our market leading position and strong brand partnerships”, and that it saw significant potential for growth in the US luxury watch market. 

He added: “We continue to monitor the effects of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak on the wider market and global trade. However, as demand for luxury watch brands in the UK and US continues to exceed supply, the strong fundamentals of our supply-driven business leave us well positioned to continue to deliver on our plans to leverage our leading position in the UK and to become a leader in the US in luxury watch retail.”

Watches of Switzerland is buying the Fraser Hart group and today it said that while there was a delay to the completion of that transaction, it was likely to happen imminently. 

The retailer is also investing in taking its shops upmarket through a “showroom portfolio elevation strategy”. In its latest quarter it refurbished three UK showrooms, including its expansion of the Rolex boutique on Regent Street, opened shops in Edinburgh and Old Bond Street. 

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