How do I hold a boys hand

Sales at the watch manufacturer Junghans decreased significantly in 2020

The traditional company from the Black Forest benefited from its close ties to local specialist retailers during the pandemic. Outside of Germany, on the other hand, business collapsed. The fact that hardly anyone is still traveling has something to do with it.

A slump in sales abroad and, above all, the discontinuation of the tourism business have thwarted the watch manufacturer Junghans' growth plans in the Corona year 2020. Income of 19.1 million euros meant a year-on-year decline of more than eleven percent, as CEO Matthias Stotz said of the German press agency. Nevertheless, Junghans ended the year in the black and posted a "slight profit". The company from the Black Forest, which is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, does not provide any details.

Actually, they were on a good course at the beginning of the year. "February 2020 was the best start to spring that we have had since 2009," said Stotz. Shortly before the outbreak of the corona pandemic, the Inhorgenta watch fair took place in Munich. After a very good Christmas business in 2019, Junghans also returned from there with full order books, according to Stotz. "Then there was a sudden slump," said Stotz.

At the same time, sales abroad, with a minus of 25.7 percent, suffered far more than at home - also because the most important international industry get-together to date, Baselworld, no longer took place. The German specialist trade, through which Junghans sells its watches, posted a small plus despite long closures in the course of fighting the pandemic. In the USA there was even a significant increase, albeit at a comparatively low level. Stotz sees the potential of the industry there as a whole far from being exhausted.

The fact that they withdrew from the large department stores a few years ago and since then have relied on specialist retailers has paid off, said Stotz. Especially the small dealers with a regular customer base could have kept their business largely constant despite all the restrictions.

Junghans, on the other hand, was hit hard by the fact that there were hardly any tourists around - not in the top locations in the city centers, not in the airport shops and also not on cruise ships. Adjustments to goods management and the postponement of strategic investments ensured that the 110 employees were only temporarily on short-time work and that a positive balance could be achieved in the end.

Although Junghans also relied heavily on digital channels during the pandemic, online trading remains a niche for the company. The specialist trade is always given priority and, for example, limited or new, special models are offered there first and not in their own online shop. If customers so wish, specialist dealers who were unable to open due to Corona were also given a share of the revenues from the online business. (Dpa)

Photo: Junghans Newsroom