Swiss Watch Exports May Slide 30% This Year on Pandemic
(Bloomberg) -- The Swiss watch industry faces a 30% drop in exports this year as the coronavirus pandemic slashes international travel and key markets outside China still grapple with the outbreak.
The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry gave the forecast after shipments declined 36% to 6.9 billion francs ($7.4 billion) in the first half. A full-year decline that big would be the worst performance in decades.
Swiss watchmakers have been struggling to find any growth this year, putting pressure on jobs in the industry. Swatch Group AG eliminated 2,400 positions in the first half as it shrank its retail network.
One glimmer of hope has been mainland China, where exports rose 48% in June, paring the first-half decline to 15%.
Elsewhere, signs are bleak. The U.S., which took the throne as the industry’s No. 1 market in the first half, has yet to get the virus under control, and Europe is suffering from the lack of international tourism. Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert in May warned of “grave economic consequences” that could last three years.
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