Sluggish UK performance sees profits tick down at Watches of Switzerland

(Credit: Watches of Switzerland)

Profits at Leicester-based luxury items retailer Watches of Switzerland have fallen after the company described the consumer environment in the UK as “challenging”.

Group revenue remained steady at £761m for the six months to October 29, but this was boosted by a strong US performance. Revenues in the UK and Europe dropped by 5%.

Profit before tax dropped by 20% to £67m over the period. The company put this down to several high turnover Goldsmiths and Mappin & Webb showrooms being closed for an upgrade during the period and trading out of pop-ups.

Despite this, Brian Duffy, chief executive officer, remains upbeat. He said: “Demand dynamics remain strong, and our client registration lists continue to grow, whilst the pre-owned market remains a significant opportunity. We are encouraged by the early performance of the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned programme following its launch in the first half in both the US and UK. We will continue to expand the number of showrooms to meet demand for all pre-owned luxury watches and are excited by the growth potential in this category.

“Looking ahead, we are well positioned for a good holiday trading period as we present our clients with our strongest ever range of luxury watches and luxury branded jewellery. We remain on track to deliver full year guidance, with our confidence for H2 underpinned by the reopening of several high revenue showrooms which were closed for upgrade in H1.

“Looking further ahead, we are confident in our Long Range Plan objectives of doubling sales and profit by 2028 through capitalising on our leading market positions and the unique growth opportunities available to us as the world’s largest luxury watch retailer.”