Tag Heuer cuts some management and production jobs: LVMH executive

Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:39pm EDT
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By Astrid Wendlandt

PARIS (Reuters) - Tag Heuer, the biggest watch brand within French luxury group LVMH (LVMH.PA: Quote), has cut some management and production jobs in Switzerland in response to an industry slowdown, the head of LVMH watches said on Monday.

Jean-Claude Biver said Tag Heuer had cut 46 managerial and production positions and placed 49 people on temporary unemployment from Sept. 1 until the end of the year.

Biver said the cuts resulted from having decided to produce only one chronometer movement as opposed to two, and to focus on the group's core business of watches priced between 1,000 euros ($1,270) and 4,000, as opposed to more expensive items.

Biver said most of the cuts would affect Tag Heuer's sites in La Chaux-de-Fonds and Chevenez in Switzerland, where he estimated the brand's total staff to be around 600, of which 400 are in production.

Biver said the cuts were not only related to events in Hong Kong but said Tag Heuer had put on ice plans to rent a new shop in the city for sister LVMH brand Hublot.

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have been in a stand-off with police in the worst unrest since the territory's 1997 handover from Britain, that has scared off tourists and put pressure on retailers' sales.

"We have seen fewer Chinese, and particularly wealthy Chinese, coming to Hong Kong," Biver told Reuters. "And this of course affects the industry."

However, Biver said he was not planning any cuts at Hublot, as its sales were up more than 10 percent since the beginning of the year, or at LVMH's Zenith brand.   Continued...

The Tag Heuer logo is seen at the entrance of their new watch manufactory in Chevenez November 5, 2013. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich