Danone recorded a like-for-like sales rise of 3% in its third quarter as it was boosted by the performance of its baby food products in China.
The world’s largest yogurt maker posted sales of €6.42 billion for the three months to the end of September.
Alongside the “very strong” growth of its specialised nutrition business, Danone saw sales in its early life nutrition segment rise by more than 20% in China, thanks in part to an increased presence in stores in lower tier cities, growth in e-commerce and innovations roll-out.
However, in the company’s waters division, which includes brands such as Volvic and Evian, sales were down 0.9% on a like-for-like basis. In Europe, against an exceptional base of comparison, sales were down low-single digit in waters, particularly in August, as temperatures were significantly lower than the year-ago period.
Finally, the essential dairy and plant-based unit posted net sales up 0.7% on a like-for-like basis. Plant-based brands in the division delivered “consistent strong growth”, including a double-digit growth of Alpro.
“Our business continues to demonstrate its resilience by delivering acceleration in revenue growth in Q3,” said Emmanuel Faber, Danone CEO. “The return to strong growth momentum for specialized nutrition in Asia is a highlight, reversing the trend reported last year.
“Across Danone, many of our initiatives aimed at quality of growth, product innovation, price-mix enhancement and revenue management discipline are gaining further traction with positive outcomes for our consumers and customers.
“Mindful of growing geopolitical uncertainties and softness in some markets, we continue to transform our business at pace so that it is well-positioned to respond to market needs. This keeps on track to deliver sales growth acceleration, steady improvement in recurring operating margin and strong recurring EPS expansion.”
After a 2.1% like-for-like sales growth over the nine first months of the year, Danone is now targeting full-year like-for-like sales growth between 2.5% and 3%.