BIEL, Switzerland — Swatch Group chief executive officer Nick Hayek gave a characteristically ebullient forecast for revenues this year, despite the company's glaring miss on predictions for 2016.Speaking at the expanded headquarters here of its powerhouse brand Omega, Hayek said he expected group revenues to rise by 7 to 9 percent in 2017. “I expect in 2017 to see healthy growth. The signs are good; Asia is very good," he said.The prediction came in spite of months of continuously falling exports of Swiss watches and Hayek’s own over-optimistic forecast this time last year, when he predicted his group’s sales would rise by up to 10 percent. In the event, Swatch Group revenues tumbled by almost 11 percent to 7.55 billion Swiss francs, or $7.66 billion, while net earnings almost halved to 593 million Swiss francs, or $602 million, as profit margins dropped to their lowest level in 20 years.“This is what we see today on the horizon," said Hayek, referring to very encouraging Asian sales since January. “The first two-and-a-half months were very strong, especially in Asia. There’s really a strong demand and good things happening.”He acknowledged 2016 had not gone to plan, admitting the year “was not so good for the Swiss watch industry or for Swatch Group.” Figures for Swiss watch exports — the only industry data available — show 2016 sales dropped by almost 10 percent to 19.4 billion Swiss francs, or $19.7 billion.In spite of headwinds from massive overstocking, notably among dealers in Hong Kong, the Swiss industry’s single-biggest market, and the strength of the Swiss franc, Hayek maintained Swatch Group would not slash investment or jobs, as analysts have suggested.Group investments last year fell by 169 million Swiss francs, or $171 million, to 558 million Swiss francs, or $564 million. However, group chief financial officer Thierry Kenel said the change reflected normal fluctuation, and investment would remain around 600 million Swiss francs this year.Group annual investment surged from 300 million to 350 million Swiss francs to 500 million to 800 million Swiss francs after 2011 to expand production capacity and invest in Swatch's own retail. While the current range might eventually dip, spending this year would remain high to expand the group’s wholly owned store network.Swatch Group expects to open 100 to 120 stores this year, in line with 2016. While most would be for individual watch brands, some would be labeled Tourbillon or Hour Passion, the chains selling upmarket and midmarket Swatch Group brands, respectively, said Hayek.“You’ll have noticed retail is always performing better than wholesale, also among our competitors," he added.Investment in factory outlets would play a particularly big role in 2017, as their revenue growth had outpaced even high-street retail, he predicted. “Today we have 55 [factory outlets] and this business has started to grow very strongly." Last month, Swatch Group acknowledged for the first time market estimates that sales through its own stores in 2016 had accounted for about 30 percent of total group revenues.Hayek said he could not envisage own retail reaching 50 percent of group revenues. But individual group brands could vary widely, with the Swatch brand already making about half its sales through its own stores.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews