"Last Christmas was disrupted by restructuring of some of our production areas," said Stewart. "And it cost us a bucket of money. This year we are hoping for a more orderly programme."
Tougher comparatives meant underlying retail sales were slower in the second quarter at 3% compared with 4.5% in the first, he added.
Total sales were down due to the disposal of the Ski and Munch Bunch businesses to Nestlé® Interim profit before tax and exceptionals in the six months to Sept 30 would be "broadly in line with the comparable period last year".
Analysts said the company "continued to disappoint". One commented: "Pre-tax profit is going to be flat again Â they've been doing about Â£100m [annual year pre-tax profit] for years. The only thing holding up stock is the share buybacks. But they can't afford to keep doing that."