LONDON — Watches of Switzerland sales fell 27.6 percent in the first quarter, impacted by global store closures.
The luxury retailer, which counts itself as the largest distributor of Omega and Tag Heuer, said group revenues fell to 151.6 million pounds in the three months to July 26, in its latest trading update.
U.K. revenues fell 30.1 percent to 108.3 million pounds, while in the U.S., revenues were down 20.4 percent to 43.3 million pounds.
But the company is keeping an optimistic outlook, given improved e-commerce performance and strong sales rebound, since the reopening stores in June.
In July, the first full month when the majority of the firm’s store network remained open, in-store sales were up 7.4 percent compared to the same period last year. The uptick was due to higher conversion rates in stores, with more discerning shoppers visiting and less browsing store traffic.
E-commerce sales were also up 79 percent in the first quarter, with luxury watches driving the majority of demand.
This has meant that staff job security and salaries have been maintained in full, since the COVID-19 outbreak.
The company also saw its revenues rise 5.9 percent to 819.3 million pounds, in the last fiscal year ending 26 April 2020, which marked its first full trading year.
“Momentum accelerated in our U.S. business adding to the positive performance in the U.K. and we remain confident in our strategy to drive profitable growth in both markets,” said Brian Duffy, the retailer’s chief executive officer.
He added that despite losses due to store closures and the decline in tourism, U.K. business could stay afloat due to e-commerce and more regional demand, while the U.S. kept its momentum.
“Looking ahead, we will continue to invest to leverage our leading position in the U.K. and become a leader in the U.S. luxury market,” he added.