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By
Reuters
Published
Mar 1, 2011
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Swatch Group 2011 sales to top $7.5 billion

By
Reuters
Published
Mar 1, 2011

Mar 1 - Swatch Group, is aiming for record sales of more than 7 billion Swiss francs ($7.5 billion) this year and will hire 1,000-1,500 in Switzerland to boost production capacity, its head told Le Temps newspaper.

swatch group
Omega is one of several brands owned by the Swatch Group

Nick Hayek, chief executive of the world's largest watchmaker, told the Swiss daily in an interview published on Tuesday that January had been the fourth-best month in the group's history.

High-end brand Omega was rapidly approaching the 3 billion Swiss francs sales threshold while Breguet, Longines and the more affordable Tissot and Swatch brands generated sales of almost 1 billion francs each, Hayek said.

To satisfy demand and boost organic growth, Swatch Group needs to extend its production capacities. "We already hired 1,600 people globally in 2010. This year we will need to add 1,000-1,500 staff in Switzerland only," Hayek said.

Hayek repeated that the strong Swiss franc -- which soared to record highs versus the dollar and the euro last year and is benefiting from risk aversion in the wake of political turmoil in the Middle East and north Africa -- threatened Swiss tourism and industrial firms in general.

"I am not worried for Swatch Group although (the strong franc) makes us lose some profits we need for investment."

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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