Swatch Group First-Half Sales Down

The Swatch Group, the world's largest watchmaker, posted a 6.6% drop in total sales to 1.8 billion Swiss francs (US$1.28 billion) for the half year ending June 30. Net income for the Swiss watch conglomerate, based in Bienne, Switzerland, fell 9.7% to CHF186 million (US$131 million), says a half-year report released Aug. 21. However, it expects a "positive second semester," citing higher sales in July and August and more visitors and sales at its own stores around the world. There is a "normalization and even improvement in business observed in many markets, together with the slow recovery of travel and tourism," it said in August. Watch production, which provides 70% of the company's revenues, fell 8.2% to almost CHF1.3 billion (US$892 million). Sales of watch movements and components alone (the group also makes electronic systems) declined 1.1% to CHF850 million (US$457 million). T
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