Unilever profit slumps but sales grow

Unilever, the owner of the Persil and Dove brands, has reported a 35% drop in net profit despite registering strong sales and volume growth in the third quarter.

The consumer goods manufacturer reported 3.4% and 3.6% sales and volume growth respectively and says that all regions and categories showed growth.

The company says advertising and promotional spend increased 130 base percentage points during the three-month period to support innovation and brand building and it is focussed on developing “bigger, better innovations and rolling them out faster”.

During the quarter, the company launched initiatives to develop markets, build consumption and convert users from other brands.

Paul Polman, Unilever chief executive, says: “We have seen further good progress across all regions and the majority of countries and categories. Our market shares are responding to stronger innovations, greater consumer value, increased marketing support and better execution.

“Market conditions remain challenging and in this environment we will continue to increase investment behind our brands and build long-term capabilities in research and development. We are on track towards our objective of restoring volume growth while protecting margins and cash flow for the year as a whole.”

In September, Unilever signed a deal to acquire the Sara Lee personal care business, which owns the Radox and Sanex brands. Unilever says the €1.27bn (£1.16bn) deal will “strengthen its skin cleansing and deodorants categories”.

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