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Swatch Group is taking a “massive hit” in China but will not be bounced into rash short term decisions

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Swatch Group chief executive Nick Hayek says the business will not base long term decisions on short term factors like the Coronavirus outbreak and public disturbances in Hong Kong last year.

In an interview with Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung, he admitted that the situation in Mainland China had caused hundreds of stores to close, leading to a “massive hit” for Swatch Group brands in the country.

Investment bank RBC estimates that over half of Swatch Group sales world wide are to Chinese citizens in their home country and while shopping abroad.

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Swatch Group is highly secretive about how much Chinese factories are involved in its supply chain, but Mr Hayek brushed off concerns that manufacturing problems could impact watch supply this year.

“We are seeing fewer problems on the supply chain side because Swatch Group produces a lot by itself in Switzerland,” he says.

Swatch Group’s shares were trading at CHF 196 after a crash across world markets today, down from a 52 week high of CHF 322.

But Mr Hayek insists that, despite being a publicly listed company, it is not pushed into making short term decisions by investors.

“We are a basically solid group without debt and not infected by the virus of stock market short-termism. This situation as well will get better despite all the prophets of doom,” he states.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder