Swatch shares plummet after drop in sales

Shares in Swatch plunged more than 11 percent on Friday after the Swiss watch group warned that sales had slumped and profit had plunged in the first half of the year.

Swatch shares plummet after drop in sales
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Although full publication of results is not expected until next week, the company said first half sales had fallen by 12 percent due to drops “in important markets like Hong Kong and partially Europe, especially France and Switzerland…”
Two terror attacks in Paris last year have hit tourism to the French capital and its luxury shops hard. At least 84 people were killed in a terror attack in the southern city of Nice that targeted Bastille Day celebrations late on Thursday.
In addition to its bright mass market Swatch watches, the group also owns the luxury Omega brand and up-market Tissot.
The company said that operating and net profit “are expected to be lower of some 50 percent to 60 percent”.
Swatch earned an operating profit of 761 million Swiss francs ($777 million, 698 million euros at current rates) in the first half of last year on sales of 4.25 billion.
In late morning trading Swatch shares were down 11.4 percent as Zurich's SMI index was down nearly 0.6 percent overall.

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France extends its winter sales as shops struggle with impact of 6pm curfew

France has extended its winter sales period by two weeks after a request from shops struggling with the loss of revenue due to the 6pm curfew.

France extends its winter sales as shops struggle with impact of 6pm curfew
Photo: AFP

The winter sales – pushed from their original start date at the beginning of January – had been due to end on Tuesday, February 16th.

However the French finance ministry has announced the extension of the sales period until March 2nd.

The decision “compensates for the impact of the 6pm curfew by allowing customers to spread out their purchases” and comes after a request from retailers, such a spokesman.

Retailers have reported the sales have been much less busy than usual as customers opt to avoid crowded places.

Also impacting on stores is the closure, from January 31st, of shopping centres and department stores more than 20,000 square metres and the 6pm curfew, which has curtailed the usually busy evening shopping period.

Sales in France are strictly regulated and the summer and winter sales take place on dates set by the government.