PARIS — Shares in Swatch Group closed up 2.9 percent Tuesday as the world’s largest watchmaker said it had a “positive start” in January in all regions and price segments.
The parent of brands including Omega, Breguet, Blancpain and Swatch reported that gross sales last year jumped 21.7 percent at constant exchange to a record 7.14 billion Swiss francs, or $8.08 billion.
And despite what the Swiss watch giant characterized as a “difficult economic environment” and a “catastrophic currency situation” last year, it said it expects “good results” for operating profit and net income when it reports full 2011 results on Feb. 23.
The strong Swiss currency wiped 696 million francs, or $787.4 million, off full-year revenue tallies, the Biel-based company noted.
It also acknowledged that the year ahead “will be a major challenge. However, the Swatch Group is confident of again generating qualitative growth in 2012, despite the ever-more challenging economic comparison.”
The 2011 numbers beat expectations, while reflecting a modest deceleration in the second half that Citi analyst Thomas Chauvet attributed to a slowdown in Europe and Asia — the former region due to economic concerns; the latter to the impact of property prices on consumer sentiment.
“Management highlighted that December 2011 was the strongest month in the history of Swatch,” Chauvet said in a research note.
Swatch said 2011 revenues in the watches and jewelry segment climbed 26.1 percent at constant exchange to 6.31 billion Swiss francs, or $7.14 billion. Dollar rates are calculated at average exchange.
The company noted that growth came “not only in Greater China but also in all other regions and all price segments.”
Swatch noted that revenues in its production segment swelled 32.6 percent to 2.02 billion francs, or $2.28 billion, despite “major production bottlenecks” for components. The firm recently fended off a legal challenge in Switzerland as it aims to reduce its deliveries of mechanical movements and their components to rival watchmakers, as reported.
Swatch blamed the “overvalued” Swiss franc for a 16.3 percent drop in sales in its electronics segment, “along with the down trend in certain markets.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast