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Waterford: holiday gains validate initiatives.

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Encouraged by Christmas sales gains, Waterford executives said the positive results are an indication that new initiatives are attracting new consumers.

During the Christmas holiday shopping period, which Waterford did not mark with specific dates, there was "strong retail sales performance" by the company's major brands in key markets. In the United States, Waterford crystal sales by major department store chains were up 6 percent year-on-year, the company reported, while Wedgwood's American sales were up 10 percent in the same channel.

The group--which includes the brands Waterford, Wedgwood, Rosenthal and Royal Doulton--reported that year-to-year sales between April 1 and Dec. 31, 2006 were roughly the same as they were the previous year.

"Christmas is the most important trading period in the year for Waterford Wedgwood," said Peter Cameron, group chief

executive officer, in a statement. "Across virtually all our brands, our retailers saw significantly higher sales over Christmas. As a result, our leading retailers and our products had their best Christmas for five years.

"Our most important brands have shown significant growth. I am particularly pleased by the performance of Waterford Crystal, our biggest brand, in North America, our biggest market," Cameron continued. We were gratified by the success of our two specialist stemware ranges, Connoisseur Gold and Robert Mondavi by Waterford. I remain confident that Robert Mondavi by Waterford has the potential to be the number-one choice for discerning wine drinkers in the U.S.A. in the short term."

Cameron predicted continued improvement in the second half of the company's fiscal year, citing its Christmas sales performance, "successful margin improvement" and ongoing cost cutting.
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Title Annotation:the markets: tabletop
Publication:HFN The Weekly Newspaper for the Home Furnishing Network
Date:Jan 15, 2007
Words:268
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