Swatch Group enjoys best month yet in December

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Watch manufacturer racks up more than £4.78bn despite currency woes.

Swatch Group enjoyed its strongest month of turnover to date in December when the Swiss watch company’s sales exceeded CHF 7 billion (£4.78bn) for the first time.

Gross sales at the group were up 21.7% on 2010’s December figures, with sales in the watch and jewellery division of the business up 26.1% at constant exchange rates with the group claiming that most brands had achieved double-digit growth in the period.

The strong Swatch brands experienced significant growth, not only in Greater China but also in all other regions and all price segments. The group’s watch and jewellery division recorded sales of CHF6.31 billion (£4.3bn). This group said that this figure was buoyed by global marketing offensives throughout the world.

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The group managed to offer this upbeat trading update despite a grim battle with exchange rates during the month that took a 10.8% bite out of its sales, amounting to CHF696 million (£474.7m).The group struggled as the ongoing overvaluation of the Swiss franc, particularly against the US dollar and the euro, had a negative effect.

Despite the negative currency impact during the course of the year and the group’s “traditionally defensive policy concerning price increases”, Swatch Group said that it expects good results for operating profit and net income.

As well as its individual brands performing well in the run-up to Christmas, Swatch Group’s production division also performed well. Swatch said that this division was confronted with “an enormous increase” in demand for all types of components. This strong growth contributed to a marked increase in gross sales of 32.6% to CHF2.02 billion (£1.38bn).

Despite this uplift in component sales, Swatch Group admitted that it is still suffering from production bottle necks even though it has recently expanded its production capabilities.

After finishing on a high in 2011, Swatch Group said that it is enjoying a strong start to 2012 “in all regions and price segments”.

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