Chocolate maker Lindt confirms full-year outlook

Swiss chocolate giant enjoys strong growth in North America

Chocolate consumption has been hit by a trend towards healthier snacking and changing shopping habits.  Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes

Chocolate consumption has been hit by a trend towards healthier snacking and changing shopping habits. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes

 

Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli said it was on track to achieve its growth target this year after organic growth accelerated in the first half, helped by an improvement in the difficult North American market.

However, challenges for the sector remain as chocolate consumption has been hit by a trend towards healthier snacking and changing shopping habits as consumers buy more online where they are less tempted to drop a chocolate bar in their shopping cart.

Net profit at the maker of Lindor chocolate balls rose 13 per cent to 86 million Swiss francs ($86.59 million), just ahead of a forecast for 84.3 million in a Reuters poll. Organic sales growth accelerated to 5.1 per cent in the first half, from 3.7 per cent in 2017, helped by an improvement in the important US market, where the acquisition of Russell Stover had weighed on growth. Organic growth in North America improved to 4 per cent, after a negative development in 2017.

Lindt said that Russell Stover, acquired in 2014, managed to stabilise its sales, with “only a modest dip in the first half”. Lindt confirmed it wanted to grow about 5 per cent organically this year and also reiterated its target for 6-8 per cent growth over the medium to long term. – Reuters