PARIS — The outlook finally appears to be looking brighter for the Swiss watch industry.After 20 consecutive months of declining exports, sales of Swiss timepieces saw a 7.5 percent uptick in March, reaching 1.6 billion Swiss francs, or $1.6 billion at average exchange, according to data released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry on Thursday.“This welcome result must, however, be placed in perspective because it benefited from two extra working days and a particularly favorable base effect,” stated the federation.Analysts estimated that adjusted for calendar effects, sales still dropped, by around 2 percent. Yet after nearly two years of declines impacted by the crackdown on luxury gifting in China and a slowdown in Hong Kong — the biggest international market for Helvetic timepieces — as Chinese tourists chose other travel destinations, the uptick was seen as reassuring.“The March data is likely to be seen as a turning point in the destocking cycle led by Mainland China and Hong Kong,” wrote Citigroup analysts Thomas Chauvet and Silky Agarwal in a research note.“The investment case in hard luxury hinges on the continuation of this nascent recovery,” commented Luca Solca, sector head of luxury goods at Exane BNP Paribas.Sales in Hong Kong grew 18.1 percent in March. Although observers noted signs of recovery over recent months, it was the first time in more than two years that sales there grew.Exports to China, meanwhile, increased 37.7 percent, cementing its recovery.While sales of watches made of precious metal continued to decline, falling 0.7 percent, revenues for steel watches grew 12.5 percent and jumped 15.1 percent for bi-metallic timepieces.The strongest growth came from wristwatches in the 200 to 500 Swiss francs, or $200 to $500 price range, which grew 21.1 percent in value. The only price category that saw declining sales was less than 200 Swiss francs, or $200, although sales of these timepieces also increased in value, by 6.2 percent.Sales to the United States grew 15.6 percent, although the market is negative in the midterm, the federation observed.In Japan, exports grew 8.3 percent, while in the United Kingdom, they were up 15.2 percent, boosted by the weak pound. Sales fell, however, in the other main European markets, as well as Singapore and the UAE, the federation said.Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the period to which they refer.
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
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion