Movado is shuttering its retail division and closing its branded U.S. retail boutiques by the end of this month.
While the once- great Swiss brand will retain its New York store, along with 31 outlet stores, the company plans to regroup and focus on selling watches through third parties, including wholesale partners and independent retailers. Its branded retail stores were opened twelve years ago to sell watches, clocks, pens, fine jewelry, leather goods, and accessories. Closing them will take a $30 million bite out of Movado’s revenue, but the division was losing around $10 million annually.
At the same time, Movado announced that it had hired Joe Faranda to become SVP of Consumer Insights and Strategic Planning. Faranda was most recently CMO for International Flavors and Fragrances in New York, and before that he was with Avon Products. Some market analysts think Movado, which was founded in 1881, will continue to struggle.
Now in the midst of dozens of competing, often better positioned brands, Movado is faced with what to do with a brand that’s too expensive to have mass appeal, not prestigious enough for the high end product and for the most part the brand does not mean anything to compete. If they had any consumer insight they might build a Movado sub-line that fits emerging consumer design sensibilities and demand instead of paying thru the nose for meaningless celebrity endorsements.
While better watchmakers starting to see some light, one has to wonder if Movado’s time has run out.