Nestle sales fall in first quarter

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The Swiss food giant says sales fell 2.1 percent, but growth is still expected in 2009.

GENEVA - Swiss food giant Nestle on Wednesday said first quarter sales fell 2.1 percent to CHF 25.2 billion (EUR 16.7 billion, USD 21.6 billion), hurt by negative currency exchange rates.

The group, whose products include Nespresso, Haagen Dazs ice cream and Gourmet pet food, said the strength of the Swiss franc in relation to other currency led to a negative impact of 5.2 percent in sales.

But Nestle confirmed its full-year target of around 5.0 percent in organic growth.

To manage the "challenging economic environment in 2009", the group said it is strengthening cost efficiencies, innovation and product affordability.

"The increasing momentum from such initiatives, as well as the strength of our brands and our worldwide geographic presence, enables me to confirm our guidance for 2009 as a whole," said chief executive Paul Bulcke.

AFP / Expatica

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