Swatch Group AG’s half-year 2009 financial report sent the company’s shares higher on the strength of sales that outperformed industry averages and an indication that “signs of recovery” are at hand. For the first half of 2009, gross sales for the watch segment fell 16.4% to CHF 1,960 million, compared with export figures for the same period falling 26.4% by value. Swatch Group shares jumped 13% on the news.
Swatch Group attributed its results to its presence in all price segments, its distribution network, and a favorable geographic mix. The Group said that unlike 2008, currency volatility did not have any substantial impact on sales.
Swatch Group’s Watch and Jewelry segment realized an operating margin of 15.4% of net sales, compared with 18.8% in the first half of 2008. According to Bloomberg.com, this performance beat analyst estimates. The Group predicts that sales for the second half of 2009 will equal those for the same period in 2008. Swatch Group gets a significant portion of sales and profit from Omega, which enjoyed global exposure last year as the official timekeeper at the Beijing Olympics. The Swatch Group results also lifted shares of Richemont and LVMH. Nedgroup Securities analyst Rey Wium wrote that Swatch Group’s performance “could indicate that the worst is over for the watchmakers.”