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Unilever Second-Quarter Sales Growth Falls Short Of Estimates

By Donna Ahern
Unilever Second-Quarter Sales Growth Falls Short Of Estimates

Consumer goods giant Unilever Plc reported slightly weaker-than-expected quarterly underlying sales growth on Thursday, hit by wet weather in Europe and North America, and moderating growth in India.

The maker of Dove soap and Ben & Jerry's ice cream said underlying sales rose 3.5% in the second quarter.

Analysts on average were expecting a 3.7% rise, according to a company-supplied consensus.

Accelerate Growth

"Accelerating growth remains our top priority and we continue to evolve our portfolio and seek out fast growth channel and geographical opportunities, as well as address those performance hotspots where growth is falling short of our aspirations," Chief Executive Officer Alan Jope said.

Jope, who took over in January, has been pushing deeper into markets such as Vietnam and Bangladesh as an emerging middle class rapidly consumes the company's household goods products.


Underlying sales in emerging markets rose 7.4% in the quarter, while they fell 1.6% in developed markets, mainly due to lower ice-cream sales in Europe during the months of April and May.

Turnover Down

Turnover inched lower to €13.7 billion, and the company said it continues to expect full-year underlying sales growth to be in the lower half of its multi-year 3% to 5% target range.

Unilever attributed the turnover decline to the sales of its spreads business, however this was partially offset by a 1.1% currency benefit.

“For the full year, we continue to expect underlying sales growth to be in the lower half of our multi-year 3-5% range, an improvement in underlying operating margin that keeps us on track for the 2020 target and another year of strong free cash flow,” Jope added.

“Our sustainable business model and portfolio of purpose-led brands are key to delivering superior long-term financial performance.”

News by Reuters, edited by Donna Ahern Checkout. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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