• Swatch posts 8.3% sales increase

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    ZURICH: The world’s biggest watch group Swatch posted an 8.3-percent increase in sales in 2013, but said on Friday that it undershot targets because of unfavorable exchange rates.

    The Swiss watchmaker said in a statement before its full results that its sales soared to 8.8 billion Swiss francs ($9.7 billion, 7.1 billion euros) last year, up from 8.1 billion a year earlier.

    Swatch, most known for its brightly colored plastic-cased watches, thereby fell short of the 9 billion Swiss francs it had aimed to generate.

    This did not come as a surprise: Swatch Chief Executive Officer Nick Hayek has warned for several months that exchange rates could eat into the annual result.

    The number lies in the middle of market expectations, according to a poll by the AWP financial news agency, finding analysts anticipated a sales figure of between 8.7 and 8.9 billion Swiss francs.

    In 2013, Swatch Group faced “an extremely adverse currency situation,” the company lamented in a statement, stressing that its sales figure had been hard-hit by an over-valuation of the Swiss franc against the dollar and the yen.

    “In the second half of the year, the negative effect on sales due to exchange rates was over 100 million francs,” the company lamented.

    Despite the currency impact, Swatch said that it expected to posted good operating profit and net income results when it publishes its full 2013 earnings, no later than February 20.

    AFP

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