Nestlé posted higher-than-expected sales for the first quarter as the outbreak of coronavirus prompted consumers to stockpile coffee, pet food and ready-made meals, The Financial Times reports.
The world’s largest food company reported organic sales growth — a key metric for the sector — of 4.3 per cent, up from 3.4 per cent a year earlier.
The maker of Nescafé, KitKat chocolate and Purina pet food said stockpiling had aided “significantly increased growth” in most of its markets.
But the exception was China, where the outbreak began earlier and lockdown measures caused a “sharp sales decline”.
Mark Schneider, chief executive, said: “Our company remained resilient in the first quarter, reflecting our diversified product portfolio and our strong local presence in 187 countries. However, this crisis is far from over and we will face many uncertainties in the coming quarters.”
The company has set up a SFr500m ($512m) initiative to aid restaurants and other customers reliant on eating and drinking outside the home, which has been hard hit by lockdowns. It will extend payment terms, suspend rental fees for coffee machines and offer free products, Nestlé said.