Swatch Group profit lowest for seven years

Swatch Group, the maker of Omega and Tissot timepieces, has reported its lowest first-half profit in seven years, with demand tumbling in Hong Kong, France and Switzerland.

Its first-half operating profit fell 54 per cent to 353 million francs (US$359 million), the company says. This followed an earlier warning that earnings would probably fall 50 to 60 per cent.

After previously forecasting growth, CEO Nick Hayek says sales for the year may fall as much as 6 per cent. Terrorist attacks in France are keeping tourists at bay, denting sales.

However, Swatch says its full-year results will be close or equivalent to those of last year.
Swiss watch exports declined a record 11 per cent in the first half, says the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry.

Swatch says the first three weeks of this month showed good growth in China, particularly for its luxury brands Blancpain, Breguet and Omega.

The company also says the drop in Hong Kong’s retail sales has bottomed out.


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