* Says group should be able to reach 2011 targets
* Hopeful for Christmas but some retailers cautious
* Says very confident for 2012 (Adds details, CEO quotes)
By Silke Koltrowitz
ZURICH, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Switzerland’s chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli is optimistic it can reach its targets this year and is upbeat for 2012, Chief Executive Ernst Tanner said on Monday.
“I believe we’ll have a good year,” Tanner said at an event at the company’s headquarters in Zurich. “We should be able to reach our targets.”
Lindt & Spruengli is aiming for 6-8 percent organic sales growth this year.
Tanner said hot weather in Europe in spring and autumn had been a challenge for chocolate makers. “I don’t believe we’ll have such extreme weather conditions next year. We are very confident for next year,” he said.
He also said he believed the company, which officially launched gold-foil wrapped Christmas teddy bears on Monday to match the success of its Easter bunnies, would be able to win market share during the Christmas period.
This year’s Christmas sales are in the spotlight as markets fear shoppers might not spend as much as last year as they worry about the euro zone debt crisis.
“It is not the consumer who does not want to spend money on chocolate in this pre-Christmas period, it’s the trade. In some countries, retailers are quite pessimistic,” Tanner said, without giving further details.
Chocolate maker Barry Callebaut said last week it expected growth in the chocolate confectionary market to slow to 1-2 percent next year.