A “particularly challenging” start to the year has been cited by Nestlé‘s chief executive Mark Schneider after the company posted a marginal increase of 0.4 per cent in sales for the first quarter 2017.
Sales were CHF 21 billion (US$21bn) compared with CHF 20.9bn in the corresponding period in 2016, while organic growth registered at 2.3 per cent, as strong returns in Asia were offset by weaker consumer spending in the Americas.
North America faced an environment of soft consumer demand with coffee creamers and frozen food doing well but confectionery and petcare both declining. Brazil had a difficult quarter while Mexico’s growth remained positive but slow.
Western Europe grew slightly on an organic basis but with slightly negative pricing. Petcare saw strong growth across the Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa region, particularly in Russia, Turkey and North Africa, while the Middle East declined as political instability and deflation persisted.
Nestlé Waters posted organic growth in excess of three per cent.
Schneider said: “Consumer demand in the Americas remained soft. Our pricing improved moderately. We confirm our 2017 guidance and have made good progress with our growth and efficiency projects to position our company for enhanced value creation.”