Watches of Switzerland shares crash as demand falls away

Watches of Switzerland shares crashed on Thursday after the luxury watch retailer said it had experienced ‘volatile trading’ during the key Christmas trading period and were reducing their revenue guidance as a result.

Watches of Switzerland (LON:WOSG) shares had cratered by over 28% at the time of writing on Thursday after reducing its revenue guidance for the year down to 1.53 – £1.55 billion from £1.65 – £1.70 billion.

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The company is the UK’s largest luxury watch retailer and, for many, is the go-to outlet for leading brands such as Rolex, Patek Phillipe and Cartier.

Despite a positive start earlier this fiscal year, WOSG’s performance took a turn in the critical holiday season, as tough economic conditions weighed on luxury retail spending. The company now expects these challenges to persist through the end of the fiscal year.

WOSG continues seeing strong demand for its core brands in both the UK and US, with growing waitlists. Performance varied by market, with double-digit US growth but a more difficult UK market that impacted luxury watches and non-branded jewellery companies. Unusually high promotional deals were offered in non-branded jewellery.

Given the recent trading struggles and cautious outlook, WOSG management has revised full-year guidance for fiscal 2024 downward, assuming consumer demand will not recover. The new projections reflect discussions with key brands.

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