Vodafone has seen its sales growth slow significantly in the first quarter of the year as competition and a weak European economy have taken their toll.

The group's service revenue grew 0.6 per cent on an organic basis to £9.98 billion, which compares to the 2.3 per cent growth that was recorded in the final three months of last year.

Sales in Italy and Spain have fallen as global economic conditions remain "challenging", while the company said "increased competition and a weak economy" were factors in poor figures for the UK.

Espirito Santo analyst Will Draper told Reuters news agency that these figures are not terrible news, it is just a "slight miss" for the mobile phone network company.

"The UK has shrunk, Italy has missed our numbers and the emerging markets growth is still pretty good but it has also clearly slowed in Turkey, India and South Africa," he added.

Posted by Samantha Green

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