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Watches of Switzerland details digital development in maiden results

Designer watch retailer Watches of Switzerland has revealed a raft of digital and marketing initiatives it is working on, in its maiden results announcement as a listed company.

The group, which comprises Mappin & Webb, Goldsmiths, Watches of Switzerland and Mayors in the US, floated on the London Stock Exchange in June, and its full-year results for the 12 months to 28 April 2019 show a business in rude health. Group revenue was up by 22.5% to £773.5 million, and profit before tax jumped by 181% to £20.1 million.

In terms of digital development – under the core business strategy it describes as “expanding multichannel market leadership” – it said eCommerce revenue grew by 18% year on year.

Watches of Switzerland attributed online sales growth to increasing luxury watch and jewellery brand range availability through strategic partnerships and sophisticated digital marketing, as well as online services like live video and text pre and post-sales support.

In May 2019, the retailer expanded next-day order cut-off to 9pm, and increased next-day delivery options though a tie-up with DPD. It also said it has improved its luxury packaging.

Other parts of the retailer’s technology revealed by the business today included its merchandising capabilities – such as trend analyses, and sales and inventory forecasting – which are run on SAP software.

“The capability of our merchandising function enables us to provide feedback to our brand partners on existing inventory to facilitate the aligning of product ranges to customer demands and thereby optimise inventory turns,” the retailer said.

The business also indicated that customer relationship management is a key marketing focus, and it holds a UK customer database of 4.8 million people of which more than three million are “contactable clients”. 

Social content to aid marketing is distributed primarily via YouTube, Google Display Network, Facebook and Instagram, it added.

Number one on Watches of Switzerland’s list of priorities, however, is driving growth through its showrooms and seeking new opportunities to launch impactful physical retailing space.

The opening of flagship showrooms in New York’s Greene Street Soho and Hudson Yards, as well as the relocation of Mappin & Webb in London’s Fenchurch Street and expansion of the Rolex presentation in Mappin & Webb Old Bond Street, provides just a sample of the store estate upheaval during the financial year.

The group said projects such as this across its global estate cost it around £33.8 million in total over the course of the year.

Watches of Switzerland group CEO, Brian Duffy, commented: "We are the UK's leading luxury watch retailer, hold a growing position in the US market, and operate in a highly attractive market in which demand for luxury watches generally outstrips supply.

“We are well positioned to deliver on our strategy and look forward to achieving continued growth in the year ahead."

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