Weaker-than-expected sales figures for the third quarter look set to prevent Nestlé hitting its growth targets.

The Switzerland-headquartered food and drinks colossus posted a 6% rise in sales to SFr66.2 billion ($44.1bn; €45.1bn; £28.4bn) for the nine months to September.

Its real internal growth rate, against which Nestlé sets its targets, fell from 3.5% at the half-year stage to 3.4% over the first three quarters of 2002, leaving the group on course to miss its 4% annual goal for the first time in three years.

The beverage and food units were the main drivers of growth, reporting real sales expansion of 4.6% and 4.9% respectively. Pet care increased 0.8%, while chocolate confectionery edged up 0.7%.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff