StockMarketWire.com - Luxury watch retailer Watches of Switzerland has reported a record year of sales and profits in 2020, despite the pandemic, and said trading in the first quarter of 2021 in the US and UK has exceeded expectations.

In its full-year results for the 52 weeks to 26 April 2020, the company saw group revenue climb 5.9% to £819.3m.

It said that pre-lockdown, trading was 'strong' in the 46 weeks to 15 March 2020, with group revenue up 15.8%, across both the UK, up 9.4% and the US, up 36.4%, driven by luxury watches which was 19.3% higher versus the prior year.

Operating profit during the year increased 6.2% to £48.3m and adjusted EBITDA was at the top end of guidance, increasing 13.6% to £78.1m.

The company said that COVID-19 related closures of all stores in the UK and US impacted the final six weeks of the year.

In a trading update for the first quarter of 2021, the 13 weeks ending 26 July 2020, Watches of Switzerland reported that increased domestic demand had helped to offset a decline in tourism, with July sales up 7.4% on the prior year.

Revenue was 27.6% lower at £151.6m as a result of store closures but ahead of management expectations and luxury watch sales increased to 86.8% of group revenue, compared to 84.8% in the first quarter a year earlier.

UK revenue in the first quarter of 2021 was down30.1% to £108.3m, while in the US it was 20.4% to £43.3m.

Chief executive Brian Duffy said: 'The UK has been driven by continued strong ecommerce sales and domestic demand in regional stores, partly offsetting greater declines in London (due to reduced tourism) and our airport stores. The US continued to gain momentum during the period with all re-opened stores performing strongly versus the prior year.'

In its guidance for the full year 2021, the company has forecast revenue in the range of £840m to £860m.


At 8:22am: [LON:WOSG] Watches Of Switzerland Group PLC share price was +49.75p at 311.75p



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