Swedish confectionery firm Cloetta Fazer has said sales of its 12 prioritised brands remained strong in the third quarter, with 5% growth, although overall third-quarter sales fell by 4% to SEK709m (US$88.8m).

In the Nordic market, sales rose by 1% to SEK652m. Non-Nordic sales declined as a result of restructuring measures in Poland. Operating profit excluding restructuring charges was SEK87m, compared to SEK101m a year earlier, with the decrease in earnings mainly attributable to the Swedish market. Finland has shown continued strong development in both sales and profit.

"In the Swedish market, severe price pressure caused a year-over-year drop in profit despite higher sales," said CEO Karsten Slotte. "The ongoing restructuring of production also contributed to weaker earnings."

"Innovation is a vital driver for growth in the confectionery business, and we have shaped our strategy accordingly. In 2005 Cloetta Fazer has launched more new products than ever before. This has clearly contributed to growth in the Nordic market and my assessment is that these launches in already popular brand families will help us to boost long-term sales and further strengthen our brands," Slotte added.

The company said the closure of its Polish subsidiary is proceeding according to plan. A selection of the prioritised brands will continue to be sold in Poland through the new sales organisation that was deployed in September.