Swatch Group said there was a “good chance” 2021 sales could return to pre-pandemic levels after the coronavirus plunged the world’s biggest watchmaker into the red during 2020.
Sales fell by almost a third to 5.59 billion Swiss francs ($6.29 billion), the Swiss company said on Thursday, as lockdown restrictions shuttered many stores and drastically reduced international travel.
The sales collapse meant the maker of Omega, Tissot and Longines watches reported a net loss of 53 million francs, down from a 748 million franc profit in 2019.
“Many retail stores had to stay closed over long periods. Especially stores run by the Swatch Group in airports and at travel destinations are still suffering considerably from lack of tourists,” the company said in a statement.
Still, Swatch said there had been a huge improvement in the second half, adding there was “a good chance that sales in local currencies will approach those of 2019, with significantly improved margins.”
“Group Management anticipates a strong catch-up in consumption worldwide for watches and jewellery in 2021, as has already been observed in mainland China after normalisation of the health situation,” the company said.
“Demand will strengthen further as soon as travel restrictions can be relaxed or lifted,” it added.
By John Revill; Edited by Jacqueline Wong and John Miller