PARIS — Swatch Group reported net profit rose 7.6 percent in the first half and said it has a positive outlook for the year, citing new product launches.
Net profit totaled 281 million Swiss francs ($296 million) in the first six months of the year.
Sales fell 0.3 percent to 3.71 billion Swiss francs during the period, with the company flagging its watches and jewelry business as “very positive” despite unfavorable exchange rates. At constant exchange rates, group sales rose 1.2 percent.
The watches and jewelry division generated 3.58 billion Swiss francs in sales over the first half, with significant growth from mainland China, Swatch Group said.
Analysts said earnings were slightly lower than expected, but sales growth met expectations.
The first half sales were “broadly in-line with expectations…turning positive following 18 months of negative trends,” Thomas Chauvet, Citi Research analyst, said in a note.
Luca Solca, head luxury analyst at Exane BNP Paribas, noted a “more constructive outlook in H2 2017, when the company will launch several new products and expects a better development in production.”
Swatch, which has said it will not cut jobs or investments, noted Friday that its strategy of maintaining personnel and invest in its production base in Switzerland helps it react quickly when demand increases. The company said it has seen demand for watches and jewelry grow since last fall.
It plans to open between 100 and 120 stores over the year, the same amount as in 2016.