RNS Number : 9577T

Watches of Switzerland Group PLC

27 July 2022

27 July 2022

Watches of Switzerland Group PLC (the "Company")

Annual Report and Accounts 2022

In compliance with Listing Rule 9.6.1, the Company announces that the following documents have today been submitted to the UK Financial Conduct Authority, and will shortly be available for inspection via the National Storage Mechanism at https://data.fca.org.uk/#/nsm/nationalstoragemechanism

   --     Annual Report and Accounts 2022; and 

-- Notice of Annual General Meeting of the Company, to be held at 36 North Row, London W1K 6DH at 2.30pm on 1 September 2022

In accordance with DTR 6.3.5(3) the Annual Report and Accounts 2022 and the Notice of Annual General Meeting are accessible on the Group's website: thewosgroupplc.com/governance /

A condensed set of Watches of Switzerland Group PLC financial statements and information on important events that have occurred during the year and their impact on the financial statements were included in the Company's FY22 results announcement on 7 July 2022. That information together with the information set out below which is extracted from the Annual Report and Accounts 2022 constitute the requirements of DTR 6.3.5 which is to be communicated via an RNS in unedited full text. This announcement is not a substitute for reading the full Annual Report and Accounts 2022. Page and note references in the text below refer to page numbers in the Annual Report and Accounts 2022. To view the FY22 results announcement visit the Company website: thewosgroupplc.com/investors

For further information, please contact:

Laura Battley

Company Secretary and General Counsel

+44 (0)20 7317 4604


Additional Information

Principal risks and uncertainties

Below are descriptions of our principal risks and uncertainties and explanations of how we manage or mitigate the risk. It is recognised that the Group is exposed to risks wider than those listed. However, we have disclosed those we believe are likely to have the greatest impact on our business at this moment in time.

                 Principal risk description                      How we manage or mitigate the 
 Business Strategy Execution and 
                                                   The Board reviews its business 
  If the Board adopts the wrong strategy           strategy on a regular basis to 
  or does not implement its strategy               determine how sales and profit 
  effectively, the business may suffer.            can be maximised, and business 
                                                   operations can be made more efficient 
  The Group's growth strategy exposes 
  it to risks and the Group may encounter          The Board has significant relevant 
  setbacks in its ongoing expansion                experience, including in the retail 
  in the UK, US, and Europe.                       and luxury markets 
  The Group's significant investments              The CEO provides updates to the 
  in its showroom portfolio, IT systems,           Board on key development opportunities 
  colleagues and marketing may be                  and initiatives 
  unsuccessful in growing the Group's 
  business as planned.                             Expansion of the property portfolio 
                                                   or potential acquisitions must 
  The Group may make acquisitions                  meet strict payback criteria. Return 
  or other investments that prove                  on investment of marketing and 
  unsuccessful or divert its resources.            other investment activity is monitored 
  Successful growth through future                 closely 
  acquisitions is dependent upon 
  the Group's ability to identify                  Key management information is provided 
  suitable acquisition targets, conduct            to the Board on a regular basis 
  appropriate due diligence, negotiate             to help inform strategic decision-making 
  transactions on favourable terms, 
  complete such transactions and                   The Group adapted its strategy 
  successfully integrate the acquired              to take advantage of online trading 
  businesses.                                      and remote clienteling activities 
                                                   to maximise sales throughout lockdown 
  The Group may fail to respond to                 periods and post re-opening 
  the pressures of an increasingly 
  changing retail environment effectively          The Group has diversified its operations 
  and rapidly. The re-evaluation                   through the expansion of mono-brand 
  of priorities and their delivery,                boutiques and ecommerce platforms. 
  including the consideration of                   Having entered the US market and 
  initiatives to respond to permanent              the European market, there is international 
  changes in client behaviours or                  market diversification reducing 
  to change working practices, is                  reliance on one territory. 
  paramount in the current environment. 
 Key Suppliers and Supply chain 
  The manufacture of key luxury watch              The Group fosters strong relationships 
  brands is highly concentrated among              with suppliers, many of which have 
  a limited number of brand partners               been held for a significant length 
  and the production of luxury watches             of time 
  is limited by the small number 
  of master watchmakers and the availability       Supplier distribution contracts 
  of artisanal skills. Owners of                   are monitored to ensure ongoing 
  luxury watch brands control distribution         compliance with contractual obligations 
  through strict, selective distribution 
  agreements. Consequently, the relationship       The Group works collaboratively 
  with owners of luxury watch brands               with jewellery brands to identify 
  is crucial to the Group's success.               product trends and forward demand 
  Some of the Group's distribution                 Continued focus on providing exceptional 
  agreements with luxury watch brands              client experience, representing 
  provide owners of such brands with               the brands in the best possible 
  a right to terminate the agreement               way 
  in the event of a change of control 
  and/or management of the Group.                  In-depth training for showroom 
  The Group is subject to the risk                 colleagues is provided, including 
  that owners of luxury watch brands               specific training provided by the 
  may decide to terminate these contracts          brand partners 
  or otherwise not to renew them 
  upon expiry, or to reduce the number             The Group's sales mix is becoming 
  of agencies they grant to the Group.             more broad-based, with less reliance 
                                                   on individual brands to drive success 
  The Group's distribution agreements 
  with suppliers do not guarantee 
  a steady supply of merchandise. 
  The Group's business model may 
  also come under significant pressure 
  should the owners of luxury watch 
  brands choose to distribute their 
  own watches, increasingly or entirely 
  by-passing third-party retailers 
  such as the Group. 
  As a result of COVID-19 or other 
  pandemics, supplier manufacturing 
  operations could be forced to close, 
  impacting operational activities, 
  client experience and business 
  Client Experience and Market Risk 
   An inability to maintain a consistent           The Group provides the ultimate 
   high-quality experience for the                 luxury environment for its clients 
   Group's clients across the sales                to feel welcome, appreciated and 
   channels, particularly within the               supported 
   showroom network, could adversely 
   affect business.                                The launch of our Xenia client 
                                                   service programme further elevates 
   The increased number of registration            our client experience proposition 
   of interests and waiting times 
   for luxury watches could adversely              Exceptional training is provided 
   impact the perceived client experience.         for our showroom colleagues, and 
                                                   other client facing colleagues, 
   The Group faces competition and                 to allow them to provide the best 
   any failure by the Group to compete             client service, along with in-depth 
   effectively could result in a loss              product knowledge 
   of market share or the ability 
   to retain supplier agencies. Long               The Group is improving and formalising 
   term consumer attitudes to diamonds,            its registration of interest process 
   gold and other precious metals 
   and gemstones could be affected                 The CRM database allows the Group 
   by a variety of issues, including               to engage with clients on their 
   concern over the source of raw                  journey from a potential to a loyal 
   materials, the impact of mining                 client 
   and refining of minerals on the 
   environment, labour conditions                  The Group continues to invest in 
   in the supply chain, and the availability       and develop its product offering 
   and perception of substitute products,          to improve the value offered to 
   such as cubic zirconia and laboratory-          consumers, retailers, and manufacturers 
   created diamonds. Equally, longer 
   term consumer attitudes to more                 Competitor activity is monitored 
   technologically advanced watches,               in detail, enabling strategic decision-making 
   such as 'smart watches' could reduce            on key market positions 
   consumer demand for luxury watches. 
                                                   The diversification of the Group 
                                                   through mono-brand boutiques and 
                                                   significant online presence together 
                                                   with the Group's scale and technological 
                                                   capabilities are competitive advantages 
                                                   for the Group. 
 Colleague Talent and Capability 
  The Group depends on the services                The Trading Board considers the 
  of key personnel to manage its                   development of Senior Management 
  business, and the departure of                   to ensure there are opportunities 
  such personnel or the failure to                 for career development, promotion, 
  recruit and retain suitable personnel            and appropriate succession 
  could adversely affect the Group's 
  business.                                        The Nomination Committee considers 
                                                   the succession planning for the 
  Client experience is an essential                Board, and Senior Management 
  element in the success of the Group's 
  business, where many clients prefer              The Group's 'VibE' recognition 
  a more personal face-to-face experience          programme is in place to incentivise 
  and have established personal relationships      and motivate colleagues 
  with the Group's sales colleagues. 
  An inability to recruit, train,                  A share save scheme has been launched 
  motivate and retain suitably qualified           for all colleagues to participate 
  colleagues, especially with specialised          in the growth of the Group 
  knowledge of luxury watches, would 
  have a material impact on the Group.             A wide range of training and development 
                                                   programmes are available to colleagues, 
                                                   including the Group's own Academy 
                                                   A group-wide engagement survey 
                                                   provides an insight into what colleagues 
                                                   feel would make the Group an even 
                                                   better place to work 
                                                   The Group continually reviews the 
                                                   remuneration and benefits packages 
                                                   for all colleagues 
                                                   A focused project group has been 
                                                   established, with an objective 
                                                   to monitor and reduce retail labour 
                                                   turnover, particularly in the first 
                                                   year of employment 
                                                   The Group is initiating a shift 
                                                   from part time to full time contracts 
                                                   for retail colleagues 
                                                   A talent bank has been established, 
                                                   which provides a pipeline for management 
                                                   and high potential hires 
                                                   A two-way engaging communications 
                                                   platform, Workplace, was successfully 
                                                   piloted and launched in both the 
                                                   UK and US. This new social channel 
                                                   will underpin Group communications 
                                                   in the coming years. 
 Data Protection and Cyber Security 
  The increasing sophistication and                Significant investment in systems 
  frequency of cyber-attacks, coupled              development and security programmes 
  with data protection laws, highlight 
  the escalating information security              Systems vulnerability and penetration 
  risk facing all businesses.                      testing is carried out regularly 
  As the Group operates in both the                The Data Protection Committee meets 
  US, UK, and European markets, the                regularly to review related processes 
  regulatory environment surrounding               and emerging risks 
  these areas is considered more 
  complex.                                         GDPR policies, procedures, and 
                                                   training in place 
  Security breaches and failures 
  in the Group's IT infrastructure                 Strict access rights are in place 
  and networks, or those of third                  to limit access to data and reports 
  parties, could compromise sensitive              to limited people 
  and confidential information and 
  affect the Group's reputation.                   Regular communication with colleagues 
                                                   on the risk of 'phishing' emails 
  Theft or loss of Company or client               and alerts of identified examples 
  data or potential damage to any 
  systems from viruses, ransomware                 Security Information and Event 
  or other malware could result in                 Management (SIEM) tools have been 
  fines and reputational damage to                 introduced across the Group's technology 
  the business that could negatively               estate 
  impact on our sales. 
                                                   VPN security controls have been 
                                                   enhanced considering the increased 
                                                   requirement for use through working 
                                                   from home arrangements 
                                                   Enhanced password security measures 
                                                   have been introduced to decrease 
                                                   the likelihood of a breach 
 Business Interruption 
  Adverse weather conditions, pandemics,           The Group has a framework of operational 
  travel disruption, natural disasters,            procedures and business continuity 
  terrorism, acts of war or other                  plans that are regularly reviewed, 
  external events could adversely                  updated, and tested 
  affect consumer discretionary spending 
  or cause a disruption to the Group's             The multi-channel model allows 
  operations.                                      clients to purchase online from 
                                                   the safety and comfort of their 
  The inability of the Group to be                 homes 
  able to operate showrooms or a 
  significant reduction in available               Robust security arrangements are 
  colleagues to operate the business,              in place across our showroom network 
  such as during a material pandemic,              to protect people and products 
  would significantly impact the                   in the case of security incidents 
  operations of the business. 
                                                   A comprehensive insurance programme 
  The Group offers flexible delivery               is in place to offset the financial 
  options (home delivery or click                  consequences of insured events 
  and collect in showroom) and its 
  online operations rely on third-party            Business critical systems are based 
  carriers and transportation providers.           on established, industry leading 
  The Group's shipments are subject                package solutions 
  to various risks, including labour 
  strikes and adverse weather.                     A detailed IT development and security 
                                                   roadmap is in place aligned to 
  The Group may experience significant             our strategy 
  theft of products from its showrooms, 
  distribution centres or during                   Reliable and reputable third-party 
  the transportation of goods. If                  logistic partners have been engaged 
  a hold-up, burglary, or other theft              to ensure the secure transportation 
  incident takes a violent turn,                   of goods 
  the Group may also suffer reputational 
  damage and our clients may become                The Group put in place action plans 
  less inclined to visit our showrooms.            to effectively deal with the pandemic 
                                                   impact on business operations which 
  Disruptions to, or failures in,                  could be applied to future pandemics. 
  the Group's IT infrastructure and 
  networks, or those of third parties, 
  could disrupt the Group's operations, 
  especially during periods of increased 
  reliance on these systems such 
  as those experienced during the 
  pandemic lockdowns. 
  The Group relies on IT networks 
  and systems, some of which are 
  managed by third parties, to process, 
  encrypt, transmit and showroom 
  electronic information, and to 
  manage or support a variety of 
  business processes and activities, 
  including sales, supply chain, 
  merchandise distribution, client 
  invoicing and collection of payments. 
  Regulatory and Compliance 
   Fines, litigation, and reputational             The Group actively monitors both 
   damage could arise if the Group                 regulatory developments in the 
   fails to comply with legislative                UK, US, and Europe and compliance 
   or regulatory requirements including,           with existing obligations 
   but not limited to, consumer law, 
   health and safety, employment law,              Clear policies and procedures are 
   data protection, anti-bribery and               in place, including, but not limited 
   corruption, competition law, anti-money         to, anti-bribery and corruption, 
   laundering and supply chain regulations.        whistleblowing, and data protection 
   As the Group expands in the US                  Mandatory induction briefings and 
   and Europe, there is a risk the                 training for all colleagues on 
   business lacks the detailed knowledge           regulation and compliance 
   of US and European laws and regulations 
   resulting in a breach, significant              Experienced in-house legal team 
   fine and reputational impact.                   with external expertise sought 
                                                   as needed 
                                                   The established culture and values 
                                                   foster open, honest communication 
                                                   Operational activities have been 
                                                   amended, and continue to be updated, 
                                                   to comply with guidance provided 
                                                   by the Government to prioritise 
                                                   the safety of colleagues and clients 
                                                   Regulatory compliance reviews form 
                                                   part of the rolling internal Audit 
  Economic and Political 
   The Group's business is geographically           Regular monitoring of economic 
   concentrated in the UK and US,                   and political events 
   and is expanding into Europe. Any 
   sustained stagnation or deterioration            Focus on client service to attract 
   in the luxury watch or jewellery                 and retain clients 
   markets or decline in consumer 
   spending in these territories could              Detailed sales data is analysed 
   have a material adverse impact                   to anticipate future trends and 
   on the Group's business.                         demand, taking into consideration 
                                                    the current economic environment 
   The Group or its suppliers may 
   not be able to anticipate, identify              Through the expansion into the 
   and respond to changing consumer                 US and Europe, the Group is not 
   preferences in a timely manner,                  wholly dependent on the economic 
   and the Group may not manage its                 or political environment in one 
   inventory in line with client demand.            single market. 
   Ongoing legal, political, and economic 
   uncertainty in the UK, US and international 
   markets could give rise to significant 
   currency fluctuations, interest 
   rate increases, adverse taxation 
   arrangements or affect current 
   trading and supply arrangements. 
  Brand and Reputational Damage: 
   The Watches of Switzerland Group's              The Group has a clear and open 
   trading brands and its corporate                culture with a focus on trust and 
   brand are an important asset, and               transparency 
   failure to protect the Group's 
   reputation and brand could lead                 Training and monitoring of adherence 
   to a loss of trust and confidence.              by colleagues to Group policies 
   This could result in a decline                  and procedures 
   in the client base, affect the 
   ability to recruit and retain the               Good client experience is a key 
   best people, and damage our reputation          priority of the Group 
   with our suppliers or investors. 
                                                   The Group undertakes regular client 
                                                   engagement to understand and adapt 
                                                   the product, offer, and showroom 
                                                   The use of bold, impactful, digital-led 
                                                   marketing, along with an in-depth 
                                                   knowledge of products, makes the 
                                                   Group an authority in the markets 
                                                   it serves. 
  Financial and Treasury: 
   The Group's ability to meet its                 The Group's net debt/cash position, 
   financial obligations and to support            available funding and cash flow 
   the operations and expansion of                 projections are regularly monitored 
   the business is dependent on having             by management and the Board 
   sufficient funding over the short, 
   medium, and long term. The Group                Exchange and interest rates are 
   is reliant on the availability                  regularly reviewed to determine 
   of adequate financing from banks                if hedging should be put in place 
   and capital markets to meet its 
   liquidity needs.                                A three-year strategic cash flow 
                                                   is prepared and stress-tested, 
   The Group's level of indebtedness               including the impact on covenant 
   could adversely affect its ability              calculations 
   to react to changes in the business 
   and may limit the commercial and                Quarterly meeting with the lenders 
   financial flexibility to operate                agent to update on forecast and 
   the business.                                   trading. 
   The Group is exposed to foreign 
   exchange risk and profits may be 
   adversely impacted by unforeseen 
   movements in foreign exchange rates. 
   Significantly reduced trading over 
   an extended period, due to the 
   pandemic, could impact the business's 
   ability to operate within committed 
   credit facilities. This has been 
   considered as part of the Group's 
   going concern and viability assessment 
   on page 166 in the Annual Report 
   and Accounts 2022. 
 Climate Change 
  The Group has recognised the potential           Climate-related issues are addressed 
  reputational, operational, and                   at least three times a year by 
  financial impacts of climate change              the ESG Committee, and our CFO 
  on our business, which has led                   has taken operational responsibility 
  to this risk being moved from an                 for climate-related issues. Management 
  emerging risk in FY21 to a principal             assess and manage climate-related 
  risk in FY22.                                    risks and opportunities via the 
                                                   Audit Committee, where reports 
  The increased frequency of extreme               on progress towards carbon reduction 
  weather events may lead to the                   targets are presented 
  significant disruption of retail 
  showrooms, offices, and distribution             The Group undertook a qualitative 
  centres, through flooding and strong             and quantitative climate scenario 
  winds. The supply chain may also                 analysis (CSA) in 2021 which has 
  be impacted through transporting                 identified risks and opportunities 
  goods to showrooms.                              for the business and provided materiality 
                                                   and financial impacts of these 
  In a changing climate, there is                  risks to the business. Over the 
  the potential for higher insurance               upcoming year, these results are 
  premiums for business operations,                being incorporated into our financial 
  especially ones located in specific              planning. The results of the CSA 
  geographies.                                     are also informing our US and UK 
                                                   business continuity plans for extreme 
  The increasing cost of energy and                weather events 
  potential regulatory mechanisms 
  on direct carbon emissions, may                  Mitigation initiatives are being 
  impact business financials and                   implemented across the portfolio. 
  profit if the Group cannot transition            These include: 
  to a more low carbon business model.             Smart metering 
                                                   Temperature controls 
  The Group's reliance on premium                  Collaboration with landlords to 
  raw materials, which is a finite                 improve HVAC efficiencies 
  resource, increases its exposure                 Electric vehicles used for company 
  to resource scarcity, and the potential          car and operational fleets 
  increased cost of obtaining these 
  resources in a challenging supply                Promoting the sustainable sourcing 
  chain environment.                               of our precious stones and metals, 
                                                   auditing our suppliers, and increasing 
  The Group may fail to implement                  our environmentally friendly product 
  its mitigation strategy to reduce                range 
  its impact on the climate and manage 
  the risk appropriately, leading                  The Group monitors its GHG emissions 
  to increased scrutiny from stakeholders          on an annual basis and has set 
  and investors, resulting in reputational         near term SBTs aligned to 1.5degC 
  damage.                                          under the Paris Climate Agreement 
                                                   of 50% absolute reduction in Scope 
                                                   1 & 2 and 42% absolute reduction 
                                                   in Scope 3 emissions by 2030 from 
                                                   a baseline year of FY20. 

Further information on the financial risks we face and how they are managed is provided on pages 138 to 144 of the Annual Report and Accounts 2022.

Directors' Responsibility Statement

The Directors are responsible for preparing the Annual Report and Accounts in accordance with applicable law and regulations.

Company law requires the Directors to prepare Financial Statements for each financial year that give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Group and the Company as at the end of the financial year, and of the profit or loss of the Group for the financial year.

Under that law the Directors have elected to prepare the Group Financial Statements in accordance with UK adopted International Standards and have elected to prepare the Company's financial statements in accordance with United Kingdom Generally Accepted Accounting Practice, including FRS 102 (The Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland) and the Companies Act 2006.

Under company law, the Directors must not approve the Financial Statements unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the Group and the Company and of the profit or loss of the Group for that period.

In preparing the Annual Report and Accounts, the Directors are required to:

- Select suitable accounting policies in accordance with IAS 8 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors (or in respect of the parent company Financial Statements, Section 10 of FRS 102) and then apply them consistently;

- Make judgements and accounting estimates that are reasonable and prudent;

- Present information, including accounting policies, in a manner that provides relevant, reliable, comparable and understandable information;

- Provide additional disclosures when compliance with the specific requirements in IFRSs (or in respect of the parent company financial statements, FRS 102) is insufficient to enable users to understand the impact of particular transactions, other events and conditions on the Group's financial position and financial performance;

- For the Group Financial Statements, state whether International Financial Reporting Standards in conformity with the requirements of the Companies Act 2006 and UK adopted international accounting standards have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the Financial Statements;

- For the Parent Company Financial Statements, state whether applicable UK accounting standards, FRS 102, have been followed, subject to any material departures disclosed and explained in the Parent Company Financial Statements;

- Prepare the Financial Statements on the going concern basis unless it is inappropriate to presume that the Group and the Company will continue in business.

The Directors are responsible for keeping adequate accounting records that are sufficient to show and explain the Group's and the Company's transactions and disclose with reasonable accuracy at any time the financial position of the Company and the Group and enable them to ensure that the financial statements comply with the Companies Act 2006 and, as regards the Group Financial Statements, Article 4 of the IAS Regulation. They are also responsible for safeguarding the assets of the Company and the Group and hence for taking reasonable steps for the prevention and detection of fraud and other irregularities.

Under applicable law and regulations, the Directors are also responsible for preparing a Strategic report, Directors' report, Directors' Remuneration Report and Corporate Governance statement that comply with that law and those regulations. The Directors are responsible for the maintenance and integrity of the corporate and financial information included on the Company's website.

Each of the Directors, whose names and functions are listed on pages 182 and 183 of the Annual Report and Accounts 2022 confirms that, to the best of their knowledge:

- that the Group Financial Statements, which have been prepared in accordance with UK adopted international accounting standards, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit of the Group;

- that the Annual Report and Accounts 2022, including the Strategic Report, includes a fair review of the development and performance of the business and the position of the Company and undertakings included in the consolidation taken as a whole, together with a description of the principal risks and uncertainties that they face;

- that they consider the Annual Report and Accounts 2022, taken as a whole, is fair, balanced and understandable and provides the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Company's position, performance, business model and strategy.

The Directors of Watches of Switzerland Group PLC are listed in the Group's Annual Report and Accounts 2022 and on the Group's website: thewosgroupplc.com

This information is provided by RNS, the news service of the London Stock Exchange. RNS is approved by the Financial Conduct Authority to act as a Primary Information Provider in the United Kingdom. Terms and conditions relating to the use and distribution of this information may apply. For further information, please contact rns@lseg.com or visit www.rns.com.

RNS may use your IP address to confirm compliance with the terms and conditions, to analyse how you engage with the information contained in this communication, and to share such analysis on an anonymised basis with others as part of our commercial services. For further information about how RNS and the London Stock Exchange use the personal data you provide us, please see our Privacy Policy.



(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2022 08:12 ET (12:12 GMT)

Watches Of Switzerland (LSE:WOSG)
Historical Stock Chart
From Aug 2022 to Sep 2022 Click Here for more Watches Of Switzerland Charts.
Watches Of Switzerland (LSE:WOSG)
Historical Stock Chart
From Sep 2021 to Sep 2022 Click Here for more Watches Of Switzerland Charts.