SWATCH ANNUAL SALES UP 17.6%
NEW YORK — Strong across-the-board sales at Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group drove overall yearend sales up 17.6 percent, to $2.61 billion. Dollar figures are converted from Swiss francs at the current exchange rate.
“Thanks to an improved consumer sentiment in Europe, the rapid recovery of markets in the Far East, a flourishing U.S. economy during 2000 and the group’s reinforced position in all markets sales rose,” the Beil-Bienne, Switzerland-based firm said in a statement.
Annual gross sales at the company’s finished-watch segment were up 14.3 percent, to $1.91 billion from $1.67 billion a year ago.
“The driving force [for this segment], with a growth rate of over 30 percent, was provided by the brands in the top luxury segment (excluding Rado and Longines),” said the statement.
The middle-range segment produced double-digit growth with the Tissot brand producing especially good results.
The basic range, through its Swatch stores, generated what the company called “good” sales increases, while sales in other distribution channels in some parts of Western Europe declined.
Swatch said production of the low-priced Lanco watches and some areas of the private label products have been reduced in order to make capacity available for Swatch brand products, as well as lines in its luxury and prestige segments.
For the year, the company’s watch production segment saw sales jump 18.7 percent, to $864.5 million, while its Electronic systems segment rose 24.1 percent, to $286.5 million.