Nestlé has reported a better-than-expected sales jump of 4.4% with sales totalling CHF 20.9bn (€20.25bn), boosted by sales of bottled water and chocolate.
In its first quarter to December 2015, sales rose 0.5%, putting it on course to reach its 5% full year target, with confectionery sales surging during Easter.
CEO Paul Bulcke said the sales growth was in line with expectations, driven by both real internal growth and pricing. “We delivered good performances in zone EMENA, Nestlé Waters and other businesses. We continued our efforts to restore momentum in Zone AOA and in North America, and expect these initiatives to gain traction throughout the year.”
The company affirmed its previous target to achieve organic growth with improvements in margins, underlying earnings per share and capital efficiency. In February, the company had predicted a sales growth of 5%, which was at the low end of its long-term model of 5 to 6% growth.
In the first quarter the company grew in all geographies: 5.6% in the Americas (AMS), 4.5% in Europe, Middle East and North Africa (EMENA) and 2.2% in Asia, Oceania and sub-Saharan Africa (AOA).
The company reported growth of 2.5% in developed markets and 6.7% in emerging markets.
Sales in EMENA
EMENA sales hit CHF 6.5bn (€6.3bn) with organic growth up 5.3%.
All parts of the region delivered strong growth, with petcare brand Felix, Purina ONE, and Gourmet as the driver. The country’s coffee making machines Nestle Dolce Gusto also grew well across the zone, as did confectionary, said the company.
Most markets in Western Europe did well although Switzerland and Greece had a slower start to the year.
Nestle's performance comes a day after its fellow consumer packaged goods giant Unilever also reported a strong sales start to 2015 with a sales jump of 12.3%, boosted by improvements in markets in China and the Americas.