PARIS — Swiss fine watchmaker and retailer Bucherer said Wednesday that it will be laying off 370 employees, of which about 220 are in Switzerland, due to the coronavirus crisis.
Of the total redundancies, representing just over 15 percent of the company’s total workforce, up to 170 will be at the company headquarters and sales points in Lucerne.
One hundred posts have already been eliminated from Bucherer’s activities in the U.S.
The company cited the pandemic as leading to the collapse of international tourism — particularly among key Asian travelers since the end of January — that has had a major and lasting negative effect on Bucherer’s business, notably in Switzerland.
“The outlook for the international tourism sector, which is of existential importance to Bucherer, and the threat of recession which particularly strikes the luxury industry, does not promise significant improvement before 2023,” the company said in a statement.
According to Bucherer, in Lucerne alone company’s sales have plunged by more than 90 percent since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in February and have barely picked up again since doors reopened in May. Marked sales decreases were seen elsewhere in Switzerland, as well as abroad.
“In this context, Bucherer is forced to adapt its resources to the new realities in order to remain competitive in the long term,” the company said.
Bucherer, a family-owned group that was created in 1888, acquired Tourneau in early 2018 to expand its footprint in the U.S.
Bucherer also develops jewelry in its own Swiss ateliers.
The brand is sold in 36 European sales points, with 17 doors in Switzerland; 10 subsidiaries in Germany; one boutique in Vienna, Paris and Copenhagen each, and six London stores. Tourneau has 32 U.S. stores.