Swatch Group Reports Slow Sales Increase for 2013

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From Swatch Group's Omega brand: a limited edition Seamaster Planet Ocean “Sochi 2014”

From Swatch Group’s Omega brand: a limited edition Seamaster Planet Ocean “Sochi 2014”

Biel, Switzerland—Swatch Group today reported its slowest annual sales growth in four years but was optimistic about 2014 as the Chinese market rebounds and foreign exchange rates level.

The world’s largest watchmaker posted an 8.3% increase in 2013 sales to 8.817 billion Swiss francs (about $9.70 billion), or a 9.1% increase at constant exchange rates. Analysts had expected a slightly higher total, 8.89 billion.

‘Dynamic Growth’

The company said it achieved the sales total “despite the extremely adverse currency situation.” Swatch said its slower sales growth in 2013 was still higher than the 1.8% rise in exports posted by the Swiss watch industry in the first 11 months of 2013.

While Swatch doesn’t break down sales by region, analysts’ estimate said about 54% of the sales now come from Asia, another 9% from the Americas.

“Based on the strong start by all brands in the first few days of January, dynamic growth is expected for the entire year 2014,” Swatch said.

“All the signals are positive,” CEO Nick Hayek told The Wall Street Journal, adding that sales could grow more than 10% in 2014.

Hayek and other Swatch Group executives are pleased with “dynamic growth” in the Chinese market where reorders have resumed.

Swatch is also banking on the first full year integration of its Harry Winston acquisition, the launch of its popularly priced mechanical watches, Sistem51, and its Omega brand, a sponsor of the Winter Olympics.