By  on March 19, 2007

PARIS – Signaling more good times ahead for the luxury watch and jewelry sector, Swatch Group said 2006 net profits jumped 33.7 percent to 830 million Swiss francs, or $672.8 billion, from 621 million Swiss francs, or $503.4 million, and that 2007 is off to an “excellent start” with “outstanding prospects.”

The world’s largest watchmaker also cited additional growth potential for all its watch and jewelry brands in every geographic region, sending a bullish message ahead of next month’s BaselWorld fair.

Sales of watches and jewelry last year rose 13.8 percent to 3.723 billion Swiss francs, or $3.02 billion, from 3.272 billion Swiss francs, or $2.85 billion a year earlier. The company cited growth across all brands and price ranges, including the jewelry sector.

Group sales increased 12.3 percent to 5.050 billion Swiss francs, or $4.09 billion, from 4.497 billion Swiss francs, or $3.65 billion. Swatch cited strong growth in its production division, but more modest results with electronic systems.

Looking ahead, the Swiss conglomerate said the currency situation is favorable, excepting the weak yen, with a strong euro more than compensating for a weak U.S. dollar.

Operating profits rose 32.4 percent to 973 million Swiss francs, or $788.8 million from 735 million Swiss francs, or $595.8 million a year ago. Swatch brands include Omega, Longines, Rado, Tissot and Hamilton.

For complete coverage, see tomorrow's issue of WWD.

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