Swatch Group will increase prices in the UK by around 5% for six of its brands from March 1.
WatchPro has been briefed by several retailers on the Swiss watchmaking giant’s pricing adjustments, which come nine months after Britain’s vote to leave the European Union triggered a plunge in the value of the pound.
Swatch Group’s headquarters said to WatchPro today that the turmoil in currency markets had pushed some of its brands to adjust prices. “We can confirm that Omega, Longines, Rado, Tissot, Hamilton and Certina will increase their prices by around 5% from March 1st,” an e-mail statement said.
“This is the first price increase since the Brexit decision (24th of June), despite the pound losing 15% of its value against the Swiss franc,” the statement continued. “As a reminder, our products are made in Switzerland.”
The group’s headquarters stressed that pricing decisions are taken by individual brands, not collectively by the parent company.
“This is not a Swatch Group decision. It is a decision taken brand by brand. If additional brands decide to increase their prices this will be communicated well in advance,” the statement concluded.
Swatch Group held out longer than most of its rivals before raising prices following the fall in the value of the pound.
The majority of luxury brands, such as Rolex, Breitling and all Richemont and LVMH maisons, raised prices in the Autumn.
Some raised prices more than once in an effort to minimise discrepancies in retail prices around the world.
The constant tweaking of prices angered British retailers, which have endured several years in which the pound has been strong, and made prices in the UK uncompetitive against American, European and Asian countries.
“I don’t remember UK prices coming down when the pound was strong, but they have gone up, more than once for certain brands, since the Brexit vote,” one retailer, who asked not to be named, told WatchPro.