The Richemont headquarters in Bellevue, Switzerland. The luxury goods company could cut another 250 jobs after laying off about 100 people earlier this year.  (Photo courtesy of Richemont)
The Richemont headquarters in Bellevue, Switzerland. The luxury goods company could cut another 250 jobs after laying off about 100 people earlier this year. (Photo courtesy of Richemont)

Geneva--Richemont, the luxury goods company that owns high-end watch brands like Officine Panerai and Vacheron Constantin, could cut as many as 250 jobs due to the steep drop in demand for Swiss watches.

In October, Swiss watch exports (in value terms) were down 16 percent year-over-year, according to the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry, the largest monthly drop since the financial crisis. Demand from the world’s two biggest markets, the United States and Hong Kong, dropped 17 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

It marked the 16th consecutive month of decline for Swiss watch exports.

Because of the ongoing drop in demand, Richemont met with Switzerland’s two major trade unions, Unia and Syna, back in February to negotiate a plan for laying off up to 350 employees. The plan, which is valid for one year, resulted in the termination of less than 100 employees initially.

Now, National Jeweler has learned that the luxury goods company is looking to cut 200 to 250 more jobs as demand has weakened further for Swiss watches.

Negotiations with the unions will continue until Dec. 6.

In its most recent financial report, released Nov. 6, Richemont attributed its double-digit decline in sales to “weak demand for watches in general” and the “exceptional inventory buy-backs” it made from retailers, particularly in Hong Kong.

Richemont’s sales were down 12 percent on a constant-exchange rate basis in the first six months of the year. In the Americas, sales declined 5 percent.

Also this week, Canadian news source CBC reported that 51 workers were laid off at the Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

Rio Tinto owns 60 percent of Diavik while the remaining 40 percent belongs to Dominion Diamond Corp., which recently announced it would be shedding 100 jobs when it moves its headquarters from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories to Calgary, Alberta. The move is expected to be completed by mid-2017.

Dominion directed inquiries about the Diavik layoffs to Rio Tinto. Rio Tinto did not responded to request for comment.

|Subscribe >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.