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Dogs (And Cats) Are Going To Nestlé's Business

The world's largest food and drink producer by sales is doing a lot better with animals than it is with humans lately, Goran Mijuk and Anita Greil report. Overall, first-half profit fell 2.7% for the Swiss owner of brands such as Nescafé and Perrier but sales at its pet care division posted organic growth of 9.1% and its profit margin rose by more than a percentage point to 15.7%.

Purina and Friskies are among Nestlé's fastest-growing brands, with sales of each up by more than 6% in the first half. Nestlé CFO Jim Singh says the company is scaling back underperforming and mainstream products in favor of premium offerings "that are delivering improved nutritional benefits for pets."

The American Pet Products Association, a trade group, estimates U.S. spending on pets will rise to $45.4 billion this year, from $43.2 billion in 2008.



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