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Swatch sales down in 2002

The Swiss-based Swatch Group has blamed the strong franc and the global recession for lower sales in 2002.

In a statement on Wednesday, the world’s biggest watchmaker said sales were down 2.9 per cent to SFr4.06 billion ($3 billion). However, expressed in local currency terms sales were up 1.1 per cent for the year.

Swatch said 2002 had been a “very exacting and challenging year”, with the hoped for recovery of the world economy failing to materialise.

Despite the difficulties sales had picked up in the second half of the year, rising 2.6 per cent in local currency terms.

“The development of the Group in the second half of 2002 was much stronger than at the beginning of the period,” Swatch said.

“This acceleration of growth included all segments, but in particular finished watches, for which currency adjusted-growth of 5.1 per cent was achieved in the second half.

“It is expected that the favourable sales development in the second half… will have a positive impact on the expected operating and net result for the full years 2002,” Swatch added.

Full results are expected to be published on March 27.

Positive indicator

Swatch said the fact that it had managed to improve its sales performance in the second half was a “positive indicator” for 2003.

But it warned that economic factors could dampen growth in the current year.

“Further massive strengthening of the Swiss franc and prevailing geopolitical uncertainties merit a cautionary note,” the Group said.

swissinfo with agencies

Sales for 2002 fell 2.9 per cent to SFr4.06 billion.
In local currency terms sales increased by 1.1 per cent.
Sales performance improved in the second half of the year in all sectors, particularly finished watches.
Full results are expected on March 27.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR