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Reckitt Benckiser sales fell flat in the first quarter after the maker of household goods such as Dettol disinfectant warned of “challenging” economic conditions.

In a trading update on Friday, the FTSE 100 group said like-for-like sales were stagnant at £2.64bn, with reported sales climbing 15 per cent in the three months to March.

The company kept its full-year guidance of a 3 per cent rise in comparable sales unchanged and said its $16.7bn deal to buy Mead Johnson, agreed earlier this year, was on course for completion by the end of September.

Within the the first quarter figures – which were in line with expectations – Reckitt’s hygiene division grew 3 per cent but was offset by falls in its home and food brands.

Earlier this month, Reckitt said it was looking at disposing its food business which is made up of source brands such as French’s mustard and accounts for just 4 per cent of overall sales.

Chief executive Rakesh Kapoor said:

Our Q1 results are in line with expectations as macro conditions remain challenging.

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