Reckitt on track for sales 
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Reckitt Benckiser Group reported higher quarterly sales yesterday, helped by growth across all regions, and stood by its full-year target.

The results beat some analysts’ expectations, and provided more evidence that the consumer goods sector is moving past some of the troubles it saw in 2014, when a slowdown in emerging markets crimped demand for everything from soup to soap.

Reckitt Benckiser, which makes Durex condoms, Dettol, Nurofen, Harpic, Gaviscon, Air Wick air-fresheners, Strepsils and other goods, said sales rose 1 per cent to £2.22bn in the first quarter.

Sales rose 5 per cent on a like-for-like basis, which excludes the impact of currency, acquisitions, disposals and discontinued operations.

The market had been expecting growth of something like 3.9 per cent, according to analysts at Bernstein.

Like-for-like sales rose 3 per cent in North America, helped by a strong flu season. Sales rose 6 per cent in developing markets, helped by improvements in India, but partially offset by weakness in Brazil.

Reckitt Benckiser, which employs more than 35,000 people, said it was on track to meet its full-year goals for 4 per cent like-for-like sales growth and “moderate to nice” operating margin expansion.