PARIS — Reflecting a buoyant market for luxury timepieces, net profits at Swatch Group jumped 23.6 percent in the first half of the year to 330 million Swiss francs, or $257.9 million.
The Biel, Switzerland-based watch giant reported strong demand in all price categories and regions — including for its components — and said its outlook is “very optimistic.”
“Expectations for the second half of the year are high,” Swatch said in a statement, citing “accelerating momentum” in the U.S. and Europe, where consumer sentiment has been low.
Gross sales in the six months ended June 30 rose 13.1 percent to 2.36 billion Swiss francs, or $1.84 billion. Stripping out the impact of currency, the increase stood at 11 percent. (Dollar figures have been converted at average exchange rates in the corresponding period.)
Swatch credited a higher marketing spend — on events, advertising and the like — for the gains in finished watches.
Breguet posted the highest growth rates, “followed closely by the other luxury brands,” Swatch said. Its stable includes Omega, Rado, Blancpain and Longines. The company characterized the performance of the Swatch brand as “excellent” and said sales in the second half would be driven by styles like its Jelly in Jelly. The brand recently feted the sale of its 333 millionth Swatch watch.
Operating profits in the period rose 37.2 percent to 402 million Swiss francs, or $308.6 million.
This story first appeared in the August 25, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.