* Says aims for total sales growth of at least 4 pct annually
* Previous goal specified growth goal as organic
* Shares down 1.6 pct (Adds company comment, background, share)
STOCKHOLM, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Home appliance maker Electrolux said Tuesday it was aiming for total sales growth of at least 4 percent a year, with the target no longer specifying like-for-like sales growth only.
The updated financial targets, which left unchanged the operating margin goal of at least 6 percent, were released in its annual report and underscored the current primacy of profitability over sales growth for the white goods maker.
Electrolux, which competes with Whirlpool Corp, LG Electronics and Haier Group, had previously set a target of annual organic sales growth of at least 4 percent, a measure which would exclude the impact of any acquisitions.
A spokesman for the Swedish company, which makes appliances under brands such as Frigidaire and AEG as well as its own name, said the altered phrasing of its goal for sales growth did not signify any substantial change in its outlook.
“There has been no significant change in the market in the near term that has brought on the altered wording,” spokesman Daniel Frykholm said in an emailed statement.
“Our primary focus right now, as previously communicated, is to reach the group’s profitability target and that means organic growth is not our top priority,” he added.
The company reported a 1.1 percent like-for-like sales decline last year while it came far closer to achieving its profitability goal, posting a operating margin of 5.2 percent for the full year.
Electrolux shares, which are up 5 percent this year, were down 1.7 percent at 237.40 crowns by 1520 GMT on Tuesday, when the Stockholm market’s blue chip index was up 0.3 percent. (Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom and Niklas Pollard; Editing by Greg Mahlich)