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ZURICH: Swiss watchmaker Swatch Group said it expected double-digit sales growth in local currencies this year after sales and profits recovered in 2021.

It returned to a net profit of 774 million Swiss francs ($845 million), from a 53 million loss in 2020, while sales at constant currency rose nearly 30% to 7.31 billion francs, the maker of Omega and Longines watches said in a statement on Tuesday.

Sales of Swiss watches recovered strongly last year from the slump caused by pandemic-related lockdowns, but Swatch Group has been losing market share to industry major Rolex and connected watches like the Apple Watch.

Its shares, which rose significantly less than peers last year, fell out of the blue-chip SMI index in September.

Peer Richemont also posted a sales jump this month thanks to its strong jewellery business amid a wider luxury goods revival.

Dutch watchdog fines Apple over App Store payment options

Swatch Group's operating margin reached 14%, after 0.9% last year and 12.4% in 2019. Its Watches & Jewelry segment (excluding production) had an operating margin of 17.7% for the entire year and 18.4% in the second half.

It said its board of directors would decide on its dividend proposal at its next meeting.

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