The Swatch Group has shaken off concerns over the strong Swiss franc to post record sales for 2011, smashing the SFr7 billion ($7.3 billion) mark for the first time.
The world’s biggest watchmaker said it had experienced the strongest turnover in the group's history in December 2011 and was confident of greater growth in 2012.
Swatch, best known for its colourful plastic watches as well as upmarket brands such as Breguet and Omega, said revenues had risen 10.9 per cent to a new record of SFr7.14 billion for 2011.
“Despite the strongly negative currency impact during the course of the year and our traditionally defensive policy concerning price increases, group management expects good results for operating profit and net income,” the group said in a statement on Tuesday.
The group said 2012 would be "a major challenge", but it had begun this year well in all regions and price segments.
The watch industry weathered the effects of the strong Swiss franc well thanks to strong demand in Asia. Overall, watch exports rose 16.2 per cent in December, compared to a 3.8 per cent rise year-on-year in exports overall.
The group, which also supplies most of the parts and movements to the Swiss watch industry, said sales in its production segment rose 32.6 per cent to SFr2 million. But it said it was still grappling with production bottlenecks despite expanding capacity.
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