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Swatch eyes double-digit growth in 2012: paper

ZURICH (Reuters) - The chairwoman of watchmaker Swatch Group hopes to see double-digit sales growth this year, she told a newspaper on Sunday.

"We have become used to recording double-digit growth rates so that eventually single-digit growth figures are almost seen as negative," chairwoman Nayla Hayek told the Blick am Sonntag newspaper in an interview.

"But if everything goes well -- all indications speak in favor of that -- we will grow that way again in 2012."

The group said this month it had seen double-digit growth in January and February.

In January the firm said its sales rose to 7.1 billion Swiss francs in 2011, adding that sales growth of between 5 percent and 10 percent should be achievable in 2012.

Hayek reiterated hopes the Swiss franc would weaken towards 1.30 or 1.40 per euro to help exporters like Swatch, but was not very hopeful it would move in that direction soon.

The Swiss National Bank capped the soaring franc at 1.20 per euro on September 6, but the safe-haven currency is still about 30 percent stronger than before the financial crisis in 2008.

Hayek said she hoped the government would move quickly to appoint a new chairman of the SNB after the resignation in January of Philipp Hildebrand over a currency trading scandal.

(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by David Hulmes)

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