Beaverbrooks says it hopes Swiss brands will delay decisions on whether to raise prices for their 2015 collections following the removal of the cap on the franc last month that triggered a dramatic jump in the currency against the euro and other currencies.
Adelle Thompson, head of buying and merchandising for the multiple retailer, told WatchPro that she wants to see the exchange rate stabilise before prices are set at a level that will have to be passed on to consumers.
“We are hopeful that a number of brands will choose to delay any price changes for as long as they are able to absorb this shift and keep any forced changes to an absolute minimum in order to protect sales until some stability is seen with the currency.
“If this level of exchange rate continues and this is seen as the new level then it is inevitable that we will see an increase in both cost and retail prices,” she explained.
The timing of the move by the Swiss National Bank to abandon attempts to depress the value of the franc was the biggest problem, Thompson added. “Our first thoughts were one of surprise as we were not aware that this move was even being considered. That said the change has had a greater impact on the euro rather than pound and given that there isn’t alignment between the UK and the rest of Europe, we would expect that any changes in UK pricing be relatively small compared with the rest of Europe,” she concluded.
Beaverbooks is a massive buyer of Swiss watches including most Swatch brands. Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek described the Swiss National Bank decision as “a tsunami for the export industry and for tourism, and finally for the entire country.”