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Chinese watch sales have been booming since end of lock down says Breitling

Georges Kern on Sky

Breitling sales have been booming in the weeks after countries have loosened their lock down measures and reopened retail.

Online sales have been increasing during the pandemic, Breitling’s chief executive Georges Kern says in an interview with Sky News in the UK, but people want the 360 degree experience of coming into stores.

No figures were shared in the brief business interview, but Mr Kern suggests he is pleasantly surprised by how strong sales have been since reopening stores in places like China and Germany.

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Sales within mainline China will be flattered by the fact that citizens cannot travel to the major watch shopping destinations of the world such as Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas.

Most stores opened this month in the United States, but the picture is mixed from state to state and there are still international travel restrictions in place.

Mr Kern is confident that luxury watch sales will return to pre-pandemic levels, but that there will be winners and losers.

“Sales will be concentrated with fewer brands. Some will gain while others will lose market share,” he predicts.

As Covid-19 swept across the world, Breitling lost at least six weeks’ of sales when virtually all stores were closed.

Its manufacture was also mothballed for six weeks, far less time than rivals including Rolex.

Mr Kern would not be drawn on whether Breitling could catch up on sales that were lost during lock down. “In luxury there are customers that have not been hit too hard. They have been waiting to buy when things open up so we expect to catch up a certain proportion of sales,” he says.

 

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder