Chief executive's delight as firm returns to profit despite falling sales in Japan
WWRD chief executive Pierre de Viellemejane said the collapse of Waterford Wedgwood last year had significantly impacted sales in Japan, one of the most important markets for the crystal.
However, he said that WWRD is now profitable despite sales having fallen 25pc between April and December last year compared to the same period in 2008.
"It's a tremendous achievement," he said.
A number of new crystal items are being lined up for production, including some more affordable items for a wider market.
"We want to position Waterford Crystal as a premium brand that lasts forever," he added.
Mr de Viellemejane said that US retailer Macy's recently experienced its best day for Waterford crystal sales, and forecast a 10pc rise in crystal sales for Waterford Wedgwood this year.
"I think you'll see the big pick-up the following year once the economy hopefully recovers," he said.
WWRD has signed an initial eight-year lease with the ESB for a disused site in the centre of Waterford city and has also pinpointed another site where it is considering expanding operations if activity warrants it.