Kering-owned Swiss watch brands, Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux, have announced their plans to cut approximately 100 jobs, which represents a quarter of their total workforce. The decision to downsize is a direct response to the decline in sales that has been caused by the ongoing global pandemic.

The Swiss watch industry has faced severe consequences due to the crisis, with stores worldwide being closed for months and a notable decrease in Chinese tourists visiting luxury shopping destinations such as Paris. In light of these challenging circumstances, Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux acknowledged the impact by explaining, “The sudden decline in sales resulting from the pandemic and the subsequent slow recovery in the watch sector have prompted the decision to reduce manufacturing capabilities.”

Patrick Pruniaux, who has been the CEO of both Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux since 2018, expressed deep concern about the long-term economic effects of the pandemic. He believes that the repercussions will continue to affect the industry for several years to come.

To address the diminishing demand, Kering’s Swiss watch brands participated in the Geneva Watch Days event recently in an effort to revive consumer interest. However, concerns were raised by executives at the fair about the potential loss of jobs, particularly among suppliers.

In its half-year report released in July, Kering had already highlighted the challenges faced by Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux. These brands have been navigating a delicate market environment for years, and the pandemic has only exacerbated their difficulties. As a result, Kering recorded asset impairment losses of 201 million euros ($238 million) for these watch brands, as well as their fashion label Brioni.

Undoubtedly, the ongoing crisis has brought about significant changes and difficulties in the luxury sector, and the Swiss watch industry is no exception. As Ulysse Nardin and Girard-Perregaux move forward with their transformation processes, they aim to regain stability and navigate through this challenging period.

Useful Links:
1. Kering Official Website
2. Ulysse Nardin Official Website