Swiss chocolate maker Lindt & Sprüngli said its original goal to grow organic sales by 5-7% this year was no longer valid as the coronavirus epidemic hit its business.
After a strong start to the year, the group saw the spreading virus having an impact at the beginning of March, particularly in travel retail, its own store network, food service and the grocery trade in certain markets, the maker of gold foil-wrapped Easter bunnies said in a statement on Tuesday.
'Extent And Duration Still Uncertain'
"While the extent and duration of the situation are still uncertain, the Group’s growth and financial outlook 2020 is no longer valid," said the company based in Kilchberg near Zurich.
The spreading coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 770,000 people worldwide, has led governments to take drastic measures, such as closing restaurants and stores, including in Lindt's most important markets in Europe.
The group said, however, that e-commerce, home delivery and pick-up services at some stores were gaining importance.
It confirmed it wanted to grow organic sales by 5-7% in the mid- to long-term and also maintained its dividend for 2019, including a special dividend proposed for its anniversary.