Swatch Group has announced its operating profit increased by 17% to more than CHF 2.3billion (GBP 1.56billion) in 2013 while turnover across the group rose 8.3% on the previous year to CHF 8.8billion (GBP 5.97billion).
The sales figure, a record for the company, is made all the more impressive by the strong Swiss Franc and the difficult trading environment that most watch brands experienced last year.
The group, which is the world’s largest with 20 brands including Swatch, Omega and Breguet, also grew in terms of workforce, leaping by over 10% with an additional 3,800 staff (535 of which joined with the arrival of Harry Winston early in 2013) which now sees the group with 33,600 staff worldwide.
In late November the group also acquired Rivoli Investment LLC, a corporation with a distribution network of more than 360 retail stores in the Middle East.
Swatch has attributed the growth to the group’s strong brands and extensive distribution and retail network. Its sales within watches and jewellery jumped 10% compared to a Swiss watch industry increase of 1.8%.
Based on the 2013 results, Swatch Group has proposed a dividend increase of 11.1% per bearer share to CHF 7.50 a forecasts that the company will see ‘healthy growth’ throughout 2014 with strong sales already reported in January.