Yorkie's TV revival boosts Nestle

Kit KatTelevision and social media campaigns behind chocolate bar favourites Kit-Kat and Yorkie have helped Nestle report a "strong year" in the UK and Ireland.

Yorkie sales grew 20% last year after its first TV ad in a decade, while Kit-Kat's "Choose a Chunky Campaign" on Facebook pushed sales of the snack up more than 2%, according to the food giant, which also makes Rolos, Milky Bars and Nescafe coffee.

Like-for-like European sales were up 1.8% to 15.4 billion Swiss francs (£10.8 billion) in 2012, despite the continent's economic woes.

The group, which announced a £500 million UK investment programme last year, said it would recruit 300 new staff this year as part of the plans to expand its Nescafe coffee plant in Tutbury in south Derbyshire. It also said it was creating 100 new apprentice and graduate jobs across all its sites this year.

The multimillion-pound investment plan will see Nestle extend its product technology centre at York, where chocolate bars such as Aero and Yorkie are made.

Overall, group sales were up 5.9% to 92.2 billion Swiss francs (£64.5 billion) and Nestle said that while it expected 2013 to be challenging, it was likely to deliver similar sales growth in 2013. There was no detail for UK profits, but group operating profits jumped 11.8% to 14 billion Swiss francs (£10 billion).

Demand for "coffee shop quality" products helped the group report a 40% increase in sales of its Nescafe Dolce Gusto pods in the UK and Ireland and it also launched a new instant "barista-style" coffee Nescafe Azera last year.

Nestle said its water business, which includes Buxton and Nestle Pure Life, also gained market share.

Nescafe UK and Ireland chairman Fiona Kendrick said: "Our consumers are adapting to the tough economic climate by changing the way they shop.

"We have grown our business by responding to this new reality, particularly in fast growing channels such as online shopping, convenience stores and discounters, as well as the more traditional outlets."
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