Mar 12, 2009
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Swatch group 2008 profit falls to 838 mln sfr

Mar 12, 2009

* Full-year net profit falls to 838 mln Sfr

* Still sees modest growth in 2009

(Adds details)

ZURICH, March 12 (Reuters) - Swatch Group (UHR.VX), the world's largest watchmaker, said it expects demand to pick up in the second half of the year after posting a 17 percent drop in 2008 full-year net profit on Thursday March 12.

Swatch spring-summer 2009

Net profit at the group fell to 838 million Swiss francs ($723 million) from 1.015 billion francs in the year-ago period as the appetite for Swiss timepieces slumped at the end of 2008 due to consumers cutting spending on worries about a global recession.

But the group, which is known for its name-sake plastic Swatch watches, expects to see modest growth overall in 2009 compared to 2008.

"This fundamental confidence and the long-term perspective of the group is underpinned by the daily monitoring of continued consumer demand experienced in our own retail stores as well as the current size of the order books," the group said.

"It should be noted that the beginning of 2009 has to be compared with extremely successful record first months in 2008," it said. ($1=1.159 Swiss Franc) (Reporting by Katie Reid; Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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