Fossil CEO Talks Wearables
Fossil is one of the brands that have taken a hit from the release of the Apple Watch, with sales declining 4% in Q2. The moderately-priced label will be releasing a smartwatch of its own this fall to compete with Apple’s wearable in time for the holiday shopping season.
Fossil CEO Kosta Kartsotis discussed the brand’s reduced outlook for 2015 on a conference call with analysts and while skirting the subject of the Apple Watch, sounded upbeat about the future. “We continue to pursue our entry into wearable technology, and we have already made significant progress with the tech relationships that we have built,” said Kartsotis. “We see one of the biggest trends in fashion today as technology, and we have developed our initial suite of products for the Fossil brand, expected in stores this fall.
“More products and more brands will follow in 2016. We continue to believe that with our great design capabilities, scale, and world-class portfolio of brands, we can be the point where technology and great fashion come together. We believe that we can win here, where others can’t.”
Kartsotis may believe that Fossil can win but that doesn’t mean the company will be putting all of its eggs in one basket. “We’ll launch in the October-November time period under the Fossil brand,” he said. “It’s going to be in our own stores plus other partners globally so and the numbers will not be significant to us. It’s mostly pretty large test just to get an idea how this is working.”
The Fossil CEO feels that there is room in the marketplace for both wearable technology and traditional Swiss craftsmanship. “One thing I would say that’s changed, if you said two years ago the importance of Swiss in the marketplace and the direction it was going, I think was stronger then than it is now.”
Kartsotis sounds optimistic about the future of Fossil. “I think technology and this whole idea of wearables, I think has taken some of the oxygen out of the Swiss business and in addition to that obviously China and Asia hasn’t been as active so there’s not as much discussion about it but I do think that’s a short-term situation.”