Italian drinks company Gruppo Campari expects its key domestic market to show flat or declining sales in 2012 as euro zone sovereign debt crisis depressed consumption in last year's Q4

LOS ANGELES , March 12, 2012 () – Amid the euro zone sovereign debt crisis depressing consumption in last year’s fourth quarter, Italian drinks company Gruppo Campari expects its key domestic market to show flat or declining sales in 2012, Reuters reported March 12.

Company officials told the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit in Milan that it had reduced supplies to credit-squeezed Italian wholesalers in the last quarter of 2011. CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz said the overall Italian market had seen a good start to the year, with consumption of long aperitif drinks continuing to grow, but he remained "very cautious" about 2012.

Italy accounts for nearly a third of group sales and saw organic or underlying sales fall 1.6% in the fourth quarter. Full-year profit growth missed analyst forecasts.

Gruppo has an underlying sales growth target of 5% per annum over the next five years, as it looks to expand in fast-growing emerging markets and offset weaker European demand by rolling out new flavored spirits.

The primary source of this article is Reuters, London, England, on March 12, 2012.

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