On the back of sales plummeting 43 percent in the first six months of 2020, Swatch Group AG – the luxury conglomerate that owns brands like Omega, Breguet, and Longines – has said it will cut 2,400 jobs. The plan is to reduce its store network especially in markets like Hong Kong as well the stores that hawked Calvin Klein and its namesake brand.
According to a report by Bloomberg, this is different to how the Group managed the 2009 economic crisis, back then they didn’t let these many people go. Most of the people affected were store staff, most of the crew that work on production lines have kept their jobs. The company closed 260 stores and now has about 1,800, the decision to cut store staff is back by a plan to concentrate more on e-commerce.
The group reported net sales of CHF2,197 million in the first half of 2020 and a first-half operating loss of CHF327 million ($347 million) as opposed to an operating profit of CHF547 million in the same period the previous year. They remain hopeful of numbers improving in the second half as travel resumes and consumer confidence returns. Omega will be betting big on the sales of the watches associated with their James Bond film partnership. The latest Bond film No Time to Die was scheduled to release in November this year after the onset of the pandemic but now there are rumors that the release could be pushed into 2021.
The pandemic forced the company to shut up to 80 percent of its sales outlets around the world during the peak of the lockdown. According to the Swatch Group financial report, the Calvin Klein timepieces business unit will be discontinued by the end of 2021 at the latest, due to the expiration of the license agreement.
The group announced a bunch of management changes within its group brands in June. Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann has been appointed to the Executive Group Management Board. Matthias Breschan takes over as the CEO of Longines following the retirement of veteran Walter von Känel, who after 51 years with the group has now been elected Honorary Chairman of Longines. Sylvain Dolla will move from Hamilton to take over the reins at Tissot. Vivian Stauffer, the Hamilton’s Head of Sales, is the new CEO. Adrian Bosshard will now head Rado while Marc Aellen moves over to Certina from Jaquet Droz. Franz Linder will also head up Union Glashütte in addition to his responsibilities at Mido.