Nestle sales down 9% in quarter

by Staff
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VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — For the first quarter, Nestle had sales of 20,261 million Swiss francs ($22,672 million), down 9% from $22,337 million Swiss francs during the same quarter of the previous year as a result of the strong Swiss franc and the sale of its Alcon business.

In Zone Americas, sales were 6,398 million Swiss francs ($7,139 million), nearly flat compared with sales of 6,378 million Swiss francs during the same quarter of the previous year.

“We achieved growth in all categories in the first three months of 2011, maintaining last year’s momentum,” said Paul Bulcke, chief executive officer. “We continue to invest for the future, particularly in R.&D. and consumer-facing marketing, while addressing the challenge of higher input costs by accelerating the pace of innovation as well as ensuring the appropriate balance between savings from Nestlé Continuous Excellence and pricing. In view of the strong start to the year, we are able to reconfirm our guidance for 2011 as a whole.”

The company said in the Americas the market remains subdued but market share performance was good in most categories and trends in frozen food have improved over last year with new product launches, including Market Creations by Lean Cuisine and Farmers’ Harvest by Stouffer’s boosting business. Nescafe and Coffee-mate experienced growth in the quarter, and volumes in ice cream were affected by price increases.

“The first quarter of 2011 saw a number of high-impact events ranging from civil unrest and natural disasters to extreme volatility in raw material prices,” the company said. “Nonetheless, our strong momentum, both in organic growth and our drive for improved efficiency and effectiveness, enables us to confirm our full-year guidance — to achieve the Nestle model of organic growth between 5% and 6% and a margin improvement in constant currencies.”

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