Edinburgh 'boutique' openings help boost sales at luxury watch retailer

Watches of Switzerland, the luxury time-piece retailer run by Scots-born chief executive Brian Duffy, is seeing demand outstrip supply with strong UK sales boosted by new boutique openings in Edinburgh.

By Scott Reid
Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 9:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 9:40 am

Releasing a trading update covering the 13 weeks to August 1, the Goldsmiths owner reported group revenue of £297.5 million, up 101.9 per cent in constant currency terms on a year earlier when sales were impacted by lockdown store closures. However, the figure is also 45.8 per cent up on the same period in 2019.

Luxury watches accounted for the bulk of the group’s first-quarter revenue, up 97.1 per cent year-on-year to £259.3m. Luxury jewellery also performed well, rising 98.9 per cent to £20.1m.

The firm pointed to strong growth in the UK and the US, underpinning confidence for the full year.

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Scotsman Brian Duffy is the chief executive of Watches of Switzerland, which ranks as Britain’s biggest retailer of Rolex, Omega, TAG Heuer and Breitling watches. Picture: John Devlin

In the UK, where “mono-brand boutiques” selling Omega and Breitling products were recently launched within Edinburgh’s new St James Quarter, “sustained high demand from domestic clientele has continued to drive performance”.

Bosses noted that the group’s “multi-channel strategy” was continuing to deliver strong results.

They added: “[Our] store development programme continues to work well with a number of projects completed in the period including a new Goldsmiths store and two new mono-brand boutiques (Omega, Breitling) in Edinburgh and one new TAG Heuer mono-brand boutique in Manchester.”

Duffy said: “We have had a very good start to the new financial year with a further acceleration in momentum, versus pre Covid-19 pandemic growth levels, underpinned by diversified growth across our markets and categories.

“Trading in the UK has been extremely strong, driven by sustained high demand from domestic clientele.

“Our newly opened and refurbished stores have performed well, whilst our ecommerce business has also continued to grow impressively, proving the effectiveness of our multi-channel model despite the strong prior-year comparator.

“Looking ahead, we are excited about the planned launch in September of our Xenia project to further advance the customer experience. We will continue to invest for growth and to advance our strategy to further enhance our leading position in the UK and become a leader in the US luxury watch market.”

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