// Swatch Group sales dropped due to coronavirus lockdowns
// The group owns the likes of Omega, Longines and Tissot
// Sales plunged by 46.1% in the first half of 2020
Swatch has said that its sales nearly halved in the first half of the year due to coronavirus lockdowns, but it has since returned to profit.
The group, which owns brands such as Omega, Longines and Tissot, said sales plunged by 46.1 per cent in the first half of 2020 from the same period last year to $2.3 billion (£1.8 billion).
Swatch said that the lockdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus had at times disrupted up to 80 percent of its sales channels, but by June its operations had already returned to profit.
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“The Group’s management is convinced that the sales and profit situation will improve quickly in the coming months, parallel to the further easing of Covid-19 measures,” Swatch said.
“A positive operating result is expected for the full year.”
Swatch said launches of new products as well as lower costs should help it overcome the first half loss.
It saw a strong rebound in areas where lockdowns have been lifted, including double-digit sales growth in mainland China in May and June compared to the same period last year.
The group shuttered some 260 stores during the first half of the year and it axed 6.5 per cent of staff over the period to around 33,700 employees.
Last month, Swatch announced a reshuffle of its management team, with new appointments at Longines, Rado, Union, Tissot, Certina, and its Hamilton watch brands.
Omega chief executive and president Raynald Aeschlimann was appointed to the executive group management board.
The current head of Rado and member of the extended group management board, Matthias Breschan, is being named chief executive of Longines.
Adrian Bosshard, the current chief executive of Certina and Union, is taking over as head of Rado.
Sylvain Dolla, who is currently in charge of Hamilton, will take over as chief executive of Tissot and has also been named to the extended group management board.
François Thiébaud has been appointed chairman of the board of directors of Tissot.