Swatch Group has reported a 46% drop in sales in the first half of the year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Although sales figures nearly halved, the group reported a 21.4% operating margin in its watches and jewellery segment for the month of January.
Swatch Group, which owns brands such as Omega and Tissot, attributed the “massive” decline due to “state-ordered closings of at times up to 80% of distribution channels worldwide”.
The group said that the lockdowns to slow the spread of coronavirus had at times disrupted around 80% of its sales channels, but by reopening its operations it had already returned to profit.
It said: “Very high customer demand in all price segments in markets which have already overcome the lockdown. Double-digit growth in Mainland China in May and June compared with the previous year.”
Swatch Group added that a “strong” second half is expected with a positive operating result for the entire year.
It said: “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 in the countries.
“The positive outlook is strengthened by the new products which will be launched in the second half of the year, as well as the lower cost base. This will lead to increased production capacity in the third and fourth quarter 2020. A positive operating result is expected for the full year.”
The news comes as the group announced a reshuffle to its management team with appointments to the management of the Longines, Rado, Union, Tissot, Certina, and Hamilton watch brands.
The company also announced changes to its executive group management board and its extended group management board.
Swatch Group revealed all appointments are internal, with people who have worked for the group for “many years”.