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Nestle first-quarter sales up more than expected

Nestle, the world's leading packaged food maker, reported slightly better-than-expected first-quarter sales on Friday, helped by price increases.

The company behind KitKat bars, Gerber baby food and Perrier water said sales rose 0.5 percent to 20.9 billion Swiss francs.

On an organic basis, sales rose 4.4 percent. Analysts on average expected a rise of 4.3 percent, according to a Reuters poll.

Nestle chocolate
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

In February, Nestle forecast sales to grow around 5 percent this year, which is at the low end of its long-term model of 5 to 6 percent growth.

On Friday it affirmed that target, forecasting also improvements in margins, underlying earnings per share in constant currencies and capital efficiency.

Nestle and its peers who sell consumer packaged goods faced a tough year in 2014, due to a dramatic slowing of emerging market economies and sluggishness in Western Europe and North America.

On Thursday, Unilever reported surprisingly strong quarterly sales, helped by improvements in big markets such as China and North America.

Nestle reported growth of 2.5 percent in developed markets and 6.7 percent in emerging markets.

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