Swiss premium chocolate maker Lindt & Sprüngli saw its turnover drop by 1.9 per cent in 2009 to SFr2.52 billion ($2.46 billion).
In times of crisis demand turns more to cheaper brands of large discounters, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.
Lindt, which traces its origins to a Zurich confectionery shop in the 1840s, had previously tapped the growing appetite for premium and dark chocolates and benefited for several years from increased consumer spending on indulgence foods.
It said that sales in the United States, Canada and Australia showed above average development especially in the second half of the year, but in most European countries “negative consumer sentiment, combined with very cautious ordering by the trade, brought only modest growth”.
Operating profit expected at the end of 2009 would be at the lower end of the range announced of SFr260-280 million, the company said
It added it expected the “challenging situation” on the commodity markets to continue, especially for cocoa prices, accompanied by ongoing exchange-rate fluctuations and subdued consumer sentiment.
swissinfo.ch and agencies