U.K.’s Largest Rolex Retailer Lifts Forecast as Demand Improves

Watches of Switzerland Group Plc raised its revenue forecast after a stronger-than-expected first half, providing a glimmer of hope for the battered Swiss watch industry.

The company, which is the U.K.’s largest watch retailer, forecast full-year sales of 900 million pounds ($1.2 billion) to 925 million pounds. Demand was better than anticipated in the six months ended October as well into the start of the Christmas holiday period. The stock rose as much as 10% Thursday morning in London.

U.K.’s Largest Rolex Retailer Lifts Forecast as Demand Improves

The upbeat outlook reflects some improvements for the Swiss watch industry as it suffers from store closures and a virtual standstill in travel. Swiss watch exports slipped 3.2% last month, continuing a gradual moderation of declines caused by the coronavirus pandemic that’s led to a slump of 24% so far this year.

“There is more demand,” Watches of Switzerland Chief Executive Officer Brian Duffy said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “That gives us the luxury of being able to conduct our business a fair bit better than others.”

The company’s previous sales forecast was for 880 million pounds to 910 million pounds.

The number of people working in Switzerland for the watch industry dropped by about 1,550 in the year through September, an industry group said Wednesday.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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