"Our overall business, led by Europe and Asia, continues to produce excellent results as a result of our focused investments in product innovation and brand support," said president and chief executive officer Bill Perez. "We are also making the necessary investments in product and marketing initiatives." For the quarter ending 30 September 2007, sales totalled $1,333m (€937m), a $154m (€108m) increase from third quarter 2006. The company posted operating profit for the quarter at $259m (€181m), up $32m (€22m) from the same period last year. "The benefit from translating foreign currencies to the weaker US dollar accounted for just over half the net operating profit gain, but these increases were partially offset by significant additional investments in advertising and brand support in the quarter," the company stated. Operating margins were up for the period by 0.1 percentage point to 19.4 per cent, staying relatively stable compared to the same period last year.. Sales in North America reached $436 (€305m), down two per cent during the same quarter in 2006. The company attributed the decline to a reduction in trade inventory levels and a negative consumer reaction to price increases. However, the Europe, Middle East, Africa and India (EMEAI) and Asia divisions both recorded sales growth, Wrigley said. Sales in the EMEAI region totalled $674m (€471m) for the quarter, up $132m (€92m) from the same period in 2006. Notable areas of growth were Russia and Eastern Europe, Wrigley said, particularly in the A. Korkunov chocolate business and the Eclipse gum. Gum sales were also strong in Spain, Germany and the UK. In Asia, sales increased nearly $23m (€16m) to reach $154m (€108m), thanks mainly to double-digit sales growth in China, and the popularity of the Doublemint, Extra and TaTa bubblegum brands, the company said. For the first nine months of the year, worldwide sales grew by 15 per cent, on seven per cent consolidated volume growth, again attributed by the company mainly to the "positive impact of currently translation." Regional year-to-date sales for the EMEAI region grew 25 per cent, while sales were up 19 per cent in Asia and one per cent in the US. Wrigley said it remained confident over the company's performance in the near future, although it recognised that investment was needed to boost sales in the underperforming US region. "We know we still have work to do in the US, including having to manage through some trade inventory adjustments in the back half of the year," Perez said. "We have plans in place and investments being made to grow our full portfolio of brands, and are focused on improving our share trends." The company will work towards promoting brands that are already strong sellers in the US, particularly the Rain, Cobalt and Flare varieties of the "5" chewing gum brand. US-based manufacturer Wrigley is a global confectionery company that reported global sales of nearly $4.7bn (€3.3m) in 2006. The company sells gum, mints, sweets and chocolate to more than 180 companies, and has increasingly been promoting its "tooth-friendly" chewing gum brands such as Orbit, Extra and Eclipse.