Christmas sales hit by strong franc effect
Swiss retailers made less money this Christmas compared with last year with some blaming the strong franc.
High customer numbers didn’t translate into higher sales, a survey by the sda news agency of leading retailers, jewellers, toy shops and perfumers found.
Top items under the Christmas tree this year were household appliances, multimedia items, wooden toys, perfume and jewellery, the report said.
Sport articles and winter clothing sales suffered as a result of the warm weather.
While leading retailer Migros will not release its figures until January, competitor Coop has already reported that its sales are down on last year.
Department store chain Manor noted that end of year sales were not directly comparable because of when the holidays fell.
Bern-based Loeb said its sales were close to last year’s, while Globus was more upbeat.
“We managed to equal our good result of last year, mainly thanks to the week before Christmas,” said sales director Tom Winter.
A major challenge this year for retailers was the strong franc and cross-border shopping.
“Even in the Christmas period shops near the border suffered more than others,” Migros said.
Coop attributed its lower sales to the “difficult economic climate marked by the strong franc and price reductions”.
For jewellery shops in Zurich the main problem was the lack of tourists this Christmas.
“Rich tourists account for 50 to 60 percent of our sales,” a top end jeweller told sda.
While watches were in lower demand this year the most expensive and classical timepieces and those studded with diamonds and precious stones remained sought after, they said.