March 6, 2018 / 6:16 AM / in 7 months

Lindt & Spruengli expects growth below long-term target this year

ZURICH, March 6 (Reuters) - Lindt & Spruengli said it expected organic sales to grow by around 5 percent this year, below the chocolate- maker's long-term target, as difficulties at its U.S. business persist.

Chocolate makers have had a tough time recently as consumers tend to prefer healthier snacks, but Lindt has fared better than mass-market rivals thanks to its focus on the high-margin premium segment and building up its own retail network.

Net profit at the maker of Lindor chocolate balls rose 8 percent to 452.5 million Swiss francs ($481.79 million) last year, the company said on Tuesday as it also announced a share buyback programme of up to 500 million Swiss francs. ($1 = 0.9392 Swiss francs) (Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz, editing by John Revill)

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