Swedish home appliance-maker Electrolux said it saw its profits plunge 27% in the first quarter amid weakness in Europe, one of the manufacturer's core markets.

The world's second largest appliance maker said first quarter earnings amounted to 361 million kronor ($55), down from 499 million kroner a year ago.

Operating income for the period fell 21% to 720 million kronor, led by a 96% collapse in Europe, Middle East and Africa - an area that accounts for nearly 30% of Electrolux's business.

By contrast, operating income in North America, which also makes up 30% of sales, soared nearly 250%.

The company said it "continued to capitalise on the positive trend in the market and increased its marketing spend to support the Electrolux and Frigidaire brands."

It said that sales for the three-month period compared to a year ago dropped 2% to 25.3 billion kronor.

Electrolux said it was largely able to compensate a 3% drop in shipments of core appliances in Western Europe with a 6% increase in shipments in North America.

"Market conditions in Europe continued to deteriorate throughout the quarter, which negatively impacted Electrolux sales and operating income," the statement said, adding that demand in Eastern Europe rose 2% driven by Russia.