Breitling’s UK sales rocketed by 67% to over £72 million in the financial year ended March 2022.
The results cannot even claim to have come from a first full year since the end of covid restrictions in the UK since there were still significant curbs on retailers and the public in the first half of 2021.
It is by far Breitling’s best financial result in the UK.
Its next-best year was 2018-19, with sales of £53 million, but this was for 15 months because the company changed its accounting period.
Looking back, we now know that the end of lock downs in 2020 triggered a surge in spending on hard luxury items like watches that lasted through to the summer of 2022.
Breitling is not alone in benefiting from this spending. Rolex sales rose to £520 million in 2021.
Patek Philippe’s turnover rose to £187 million. LVMH Watch & Jewellery UK, home to Breitling rival TAG Heuer, topped £107 million and Swatch reached £107 million.
Breitling reports that sales immediately rebounded and continued at a higher level than before the pandemic, and this continued throughout the financial year, despite further covid-related disruption.
“This performance was delivered across all business channels, driven by demand in physical stores, continued strength of online sales, successful product launches and a highly focused marketing strategy and speaks to the overall brand strength in the UK and Ireland,” the company says in commentary accompanying the financial results.
Operating profit rose to £2.8 million, three-times its pre-pandemic level.
That is a slim 3.9% operating profit margin on sales of £72 million, but a significant improvement on margins of under 2% between 2018 and 2020.