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Swiss watches lose allure as Chinese count cost

by swisscham in HTR

Swiss watch exports took their biggest fall at the start of this year since 2009 as China’s economy stumbled and Hong Kong retailers focused on working off existing stock instead of placing new orders.The Swiss watch sector’s exports in March alone fell nearly 17% in real terms, when adjusted for working days, to CHF 1.5 billion Swiss francs (USD 515 million), data showed on Thursday, the lowest level for that month in five years. It was the fourth consecutive quarterly fall and the biggest since the global financial crisis.Demand for luxury watches has been hammered by a Chinese government crackdown on bribery, a drop in tourist shoppers to Europe and, at lower price points, the rise of smartwatches. Manufacturers like Swatch Group, Richemont and LVMH have responded by demanding price cuts from suppliers and taking more production in-house.”There have been no signs of improvement in Swiss watch exports, in particular into Greater China,” Citigroup analyst Thomas Chauvet wrote in a note to clients.

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