Report Cards: Snapshot of Swatch, LVMH, Richemont and a Peek into 2019

Browsing business data isn’t what many people do for kicks, but a pinch of most things is tolerable and we promise to share only the tastier bits. Besides, it is a most pressing time for such an exercise, because if society can still broadly agree on anything in this extremely divisive climate, it is that the world has gotten pretty unpredictable of late. For unstable, changing times then, here are some numbers for precious anchorage.

Swatch Group (2018 Key Figures)

Watch Brands: Include the likes of Breguet, Blancpain, Glashutte Original, Omega, Longines, Hamilton, Tissot, Jaquet Droz.

Sales: The Group clocked sales of CHF 8.5 billion (USD 8.5 billion), a growth of 6.1% from 2017. That’s slightly more than the 2017 GDP of Haiti as specified by the World Bank.

Profits: This rose by 14.8% to CHF 867 million (a profit margin of 10%). That’s a little more than Jerry Seinfeld’s net worth as at September 2015, which Bankrate valued at USD 860 million.

Full steam: According to Swatch, some of its watch brands were doing such a roaring business that components suppliers (cases, dials, watch hands, etc.) could hardly keep up, even while operating at or in some cases above, full capacity. This led to “significant delivery delays, mainly for products for Omega and Longines”. Blancpain was also singled out for “record sales”, with its Fifty Fathoms as one of the important drivers of the brand’s success.

2019 Highlights: Expect “various” product launches when Omega celebrates the 50-year anniversary of the 1969 moon landing; special editions to be launched in Japan for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo; Tissot will introduce its smart T-Touch with its own operating system.

War on magnetism: In future, all mechanical watches for Swatch Group brands will feature antimagnetic properties, either with the silicon balance spring or the Nivachron balance spring, representing a substantial improvement in precision and reliability.

2019 outlook: January 2019 opened with solid year-on-year growth, even from a high level last year. The Group expects 2019 to be a good year, especially with production capacity bottlenecks as mentioned above resolved. For 2019, even with several regions looking rather glum, Swatch expects to perform well in China, and gain market share in USA and Japan.

Longines Conquest V.H.P
Longines Conquest V.H.P

Richemont Group (Six months ended September 2018)

Watch brands: Include Vacheron Constantin, Cartier, Piaget, Lange & Sohne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Panerai, Roger Dubuis, Montblanc.

Sales: Over a six-month period, the Group amassed 6.8 billion euros (USD 7.7 billion) in sales, a 21% jump year-on-year. Online retail sales accounted for 14% of Group sales.

Gross Profit: Richemont realized a gross profit of 4.3 billion euros (USD 4.9 billion), a 16% increase year-on-year. A 63% profit margin!

Consolidation: According to the report, Richemont fully acquired online luxury retailer YOOX Net-a-Porter, and pre-owned timepieces merchant Watchfinder. It also sold off luxury leather goods company Lancel (established 1876) to Italy’s Piquadro SpA.

Gearing for China: In October 2018, Richemont announced a strategic partnership with Alibaba Group to address online luxury retail for customers in China. A shot across the bow for traders of fake goods, to say the least.

Growth by the regions: Sales in the Americas grew fastest (36%), followed by Europe (27%), the Asia Pacific excluding japan (17%), and Japan (11%). Sales in the Middle East grew 1%.

Business distribution: The Asia Pacific accounted for 37% of sales, followed by Europe (30%) and the Americas (18%).

Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar
Vacheron Constantin Traditionnelle Twin Beat Perpetual Calendar

LVMH (2018 Key Figures)

Watch Brands: Include Bulgari, Hublot, TAG Heuer, Zenith

Revenue: This is an order of magnitude above the other two conglomerates because LVMH is into so much beyond watches. Revenue for 2018 grew 9.8% to hit 46.8 billion euros (USD 52.9 billion). That’s roughly the GDP of Macau, which ranks 83rd on the GDP list of 190 nations.

Net profit: This grew nearly 20% to 7 billion euros (USD 8 billion).

Watches & Jewelry division: This clocked the greatest growth among the varied business groups within LVMH, achieving 4.1 billion euros (USD 4.6 billion) in revenue (a growth of 8%). Profit from this division grew 37% to 703 million euros (USD 795 million).

Regions: Asia (excluding Japan) accounted for 35% of revenue (from 31% last year).

2019 Outlook: “Cautiously confident”.

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