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Watches of Switzerland says strong November sales bode well for Christmas

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A Datejust watch of Swiss manufacturer Rolex is displayed at Baselworld fair in Basel

By Silke Koltrowitz

ZURICH (Reuters) - Luxury watch retailer Watches of Switzerland Group (WoS) said on Thursday trading in November supported its recently upgraded full-year guidance, after strong revenue growth boosted earnings in the 26 weeks to Oct. 31.

"We upgraded our guidance about a month ago, we're confirming that guidance after a good start to our third quarter," Chief Executive Brian Duffy told Reuters in an interview. "November has been strong."

He said the group had sold a lot of Rolex watches in May, June and July and then had to rebuild stock until the end of October. WoS is the biggest Rolex retailer in Britain and the brand accounts for about half of the group's business.

He said a scarcity of Rolexes had benefited other brands. "Cartier, Omega, Breitling, TAG Heuer, Tudor are all doing well."

Duffy said the group, which has 163 stores across Britain and the United States, was now well stocked for the holiday trading period.

In the 26 weeks to Oct. 31, adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose almost 60% to 82.8 million pounds ($109.4 million).

Last month, WoS upgraded its full-year revenue outlook to 1.15-1.20 billion pounds, also thanks to the acquisition of five U.S. stores with a combined annual revenue of about $100 million.

The group's five-year strategy to 2026 envisions becoming the leader in the United States, a market it entered in 2017, and entering the EU market. It said it could spend 150-200 million pounds on acquisitions in the United States and the EU over the next five years.

($1 = 0.7572 pounds)

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Mark Potter)

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