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Swatch Group FY results disappoint, slowdown in fourth-quarter

Swatch Group FY results disappoint, slowdown in fourth-quarter
A logo of Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group is pictured during the annual news conference in Biel, Switzerland, March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse   -   Copyright  DENIS BALIBOUSE(Reuters)
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ZURICH (Reuters) – Swatch Group <UHR.S> said business slowed in the last three months of 2018 hit by a downturn in Asia and weak sales in France, leading it to post lower-than-expected results for the full year.

Swiss watchmakers have seen exports, the best available indicator for demand, grow more slowly in recent months and concerns Chinese luxury buyers could spend less this year have weighed on the sector and sent Swatch’s share price sharply lower.

The maker of cheap plastic Swatch watches, sporty Tissot and luxury Breguet timepieces said in a statement on Thursday it had seen a downturn in demand in Asia in the final quarter of 2018, but hoped its strong position in China would become an opportunity this year.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; editing by Brena Hughes Neghaiwi)

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