Shrinking watch sales trouble Gucci and Boucheron owner

Sluggish sales of watches have left a blotch on luxury goods maker Kering’s copybook, with the owner of brands such as Gucci and YSL revealing that watches were the only part of its portfolio that didn’t grow last year.

The Paris-headquartered outfit said its watch brands were left to pay for soft demand and adverse currency effects despite its overall luxury goods business growing an impressive 16% to €7.8 billion (£6.1 billion) in 2015.

Watches and jewellery accounted for 10% of that figure – around £600m – with the rest of its sales coming from leather goods, clothing and shoes.

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Kering said revenues increased in each of the main product categories that it operates, apart from watches, which were “adversely affected by a lacklustre market and the sharp appreciation of the Swiss franc”.

The company’s difficulties in the watch market appear to have continued right until the end of the year. While it claims its watch performance up “steadily” with each quarter, it confessed that its watch brands were “once again held back by an unfavourable market environment” in Q4.

This comes in stark contrast to its jewellery business, which saw sales “rise sharply” during the final three months of the year.

Kering’s watches and jewellery division underwent a series of leadership changes in the second half of last year, as the company announced a reorganisation of the business.

Hélène Poulit-Duquesne was appointed as CEO of Boucheron at the end of September, while Sabina Belli was named CEO of the Pomellato. Both report into Albert Bensoussan, the head of Kering’s watches and jewellery unit.

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