Unilever has beaten market expectations by recording a 6.1% growth in fourth-quarter underlying sales. The packaged goods giant has attributed the result to widespread growth in its categories and across its regions.
Its strategy has been to concentrate resources in emerging markets, the personal care sector and its Vitality initiative which was devised to create products connected to health and wellbeing.
Personal care was its fastest growing category, while home care was also ahead for the year – particularly in its household cleaning and fabric conditioners.
It also reported that investment in advertising and promotions increased in line with its sales results. Underlying sales growth for the year was 5.5%
Group chief executive Patrick Cescau says: “This is clear evidence that our strategy of focusing resources on faster growing and profitable segments is succeeding. The reshaping of the business and the acceleration of our change programme are bringing real benefits.”
He adds the company expects underlying sales growth to reach the upper end of its 3-5% target in 2008. Changes in its portfolio have included the acquisition of leading Russian ice cream company Inmarko and the extension of the Pepsi/Lipton partnership.