The Switzerland-based food and drinks giant Nestle today posted consolidated sales of CHF66.2 billion during the first nine months of 2002, an increase of 6% over the corresponding period of the preceding year. However, Nestle's closely-followed internal growth, which strips out currency movements, price changes and acquisitions, slipped to 3.4% in the nine months to September from 3.5% mid-year, which was below its long-term target of 4%. The company said the drop in growth was due to economic woes in Latin America and Japan as well sluggish demand for pet food in North America.