Nestlé warns 2013 as challenging as last year
Nestlé said it expected 2013 to be as challenging as 2012 as the world’s biggest food group reported weaker-than-expected quarterly sales growth in Asia and the Americas.
Underlying 2012 sales growth at the maker of KitKat chocolate bars came in at 5.9 per cent for the year, meeting average analyst expectations, and implying a slight recovery from third-quarter growth of some 5 per cent.
In Europe, Ireland and the UK were identified as areas of growth for the company, performing strongly last year. The company said the business achieved the growth by responding to changing shopping habits.
“Our consumers are adapting to the tough economic climate by changing the way they shop,”chief executive of Nestlé UK Ireland Fiona Kendrick said.
“We have grown our business by responding to this new reality, particularly in fast growing channels such as online shopping, convenience stores and discounters, as well as the more traditional outlets.”
On the positive side, analysts highlighted growth of 6.4 per cent at Nestlé’s bottled water business, which was helped by strong sales of premium brands such as San Pellegrino and Perrier as well as its Pure Life budget brand.
The business had suffered in recent years from cash-strapped customers switching back to tap water as well as from criticism from green campaigners.
“The environment looks to be every bit as challenging in 2013 as it was in 2012,” chief executive Paul Bulcke said. – (Reuters)