September 26, 2014 / 3:37 PM / 5 years ago

Cartier reduces working hours at watch factory as demand slows

ZURICH, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Luxury group Richemont’s flagship brand Cartier said on Friday it will reduce working hours for 230 employees at one of its watchmaking factories in Switzerland in November due to slowing demand.

Cartier, which is best known for its jewellery, has been grappling with weak demand for its watches for some time, particularly in China where an anti-corruption campaign has dented demand for luxury timepieces.

From November, 230 employees at Cartier’s watch factory in Villars-sur-Glane in western Switzerland will have to stay at home for three days a week, Cartier spokeswoman Aurelie Ohayon-Bastide said.

“This has become necessary in the current economic environment. The aim is to preserve employment,” she said, adding the duration had not yet been determined.

Cartier, which employs about 1,600 people in Switzerland, reduced working hours for several months in 2009 as the financial crisis took hold.

“At the time, all employees were able to return to full-time work after some time,” Ohayon-Bastide said.

Last week, Richemont posted a weaker-than-expected 4 percent rise in sales for the five months to August, notably blaming weakness at Cartier watches.

Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; editing by Susan Thomas

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