Watches of Switzerland’s Q3 Jewelry Sales Up 88%

FinancialsFeb 10, 2022

Watches of Switzerland’s Q3 Jewelry Sales Up 88%

Jewelry sales were strong following its acquisition of Betteridge and the opening of its first Bulgari boutique.

Pictured here is Watches of Switzerland’s new store in the Mall of America after acquiring the location from Ben Bridge as part of its North American expansion. The company’s third-quarter revenue was up 28 percent year-over-year.
London—Watches of Switzerland delivered a strong third quarter, with jewelry sales nearly doubling following its acquisition of Betteridge and the opening of its first Bulgari boutique.

In the third quarter ending Jan. 30, the company posted £348.1 million ($472.6 million) in total revenue, up 28 percent year-over-year.

Revenue was up 35 percent compared with the third quarter of pre-pandemic 2019.

For the first nine months of the year, revenue totaled £934.3 million ($1.27 billion), up 36 percent year-over-year and up 36 percent compared with pre-pandemic 2019.

“I am pleased to report continued strong momentum for our group following a successful Christmas trading period,” CEO Brian Duffy said.

“We have delivered impressive growth in both luxury watches and luxury jewelry in both the U.K. and U.S. markets, demonstrating the value of our portfolio of world leading partner brands.”

The positive performance was driven by strong demand for luxury jewelry and watches.

The luxury watches category was up 21 percent year-over-year in the quarter and up 33 percent for the first nine months of the year.

“Demand for luxury watches continues to be very strong in both the U.K. and the U.S., consistently exceeding supply,” said Watches of Switzerland in a press release about the results.

Its “super high demand” watch brands include Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet.

The brands have been hampered by supply chain constraints, especially Rolex, but full-year intake was in line with the company’s expectations.

A limited supply of the above brands meant stronger sales for other luxury watches, with sales in the category excluding those three more than doubling, up 112 percent year-over-year.

The luxury jewelry category was up 88 percent year-over-year in the quarter and up 70 percent in the first nine months of the year.

Online sales for the quarter slipped 1 percent compared with last year, when U.K. stores were closed four out of the 13 weeks in the quarter due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The results reflect a strong market, said the company, as well as incremental growth from its recent Betteridge acquisition and the opening of its first Bulgari boutique.

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In a move to bolster revenue, the company has continued to expand in the U.S. market.

In the region, third-quarter revenue totaled £124.6 million ($169.2 million), up 44 percent year-over-year and up 67 percent compared with the third quarter of 2019.

U.S. luxury watch sales were up 32 percent year-over-year, while sales of other luxury watch brands more than tripled, up 214 percent year-over-year.

Jewelry sales in the U.S. were especially strong, up 173 percent following its Betteridge acquisition, which was completed in December 2021, and the opening of its first Bulgari boutique.

For the first nine months of the year, U.S. revenue totaled £292.1 million ($396.6 million), up 41 percent year-over-year and up 57 percent compared to the same period in 2019.

The company recently acquired five stores belonging to leading independent watch retailers in the U.S. as it continues its North American expansion.

It scooped up Ben Bridge at Mall of America outside of Minneapolis-St.Paul; Timeless Luxury Watches in Plano, Texas; and three Betteridge stores in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Vail and Aspen, Colorado.

The acquisitions brought its U.S. network up to 36 stores, including 22 multi-brand and 14 mono-brand boutiques, located in 12 states.

As of Jan. 30, the company operated 171 stores across the U.S. and the U.K., including 51 mono-brand boutiques.

It also refurbished its Rolex boutique at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas, reopened Mayors Millenia in Florida, and expanded its mono-brand boutique network with the opening of Breitling Short Hills, New Jersey and Tudor Millenia in Florida.

The company is also expanding in Europe, opening six mono-brand boutiques in Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland, set to open in the first half of its next fiscal year, which begins in May. 

Looking to the year ahead, the company is expecting full-year revenue to be near the top end of its guidance, which was previously raised following a strong performance in the first half.

It expects revenue of £1.15 billion to £1.20 billion, assuming there are no significant changes in market conditions.

The company has plans to open a new flagship store in Cincinnati and three new mono-brand boutiques in the U.K. It will also refurbish Mayors in Boca Raton, Florida.

Looking further ahead to its next fiscal year, it plans to expand its mono-brand boutique store network in the U.S. and the U.K. even further and continue to refurbish the Mayors store network in Florida.

A new flagship will open in the American Dream mall in New Jersey as well as a new Watches of Switzerland store in London.
Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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