The FMCG company has posted a better than expected 5.9 per cent rise in underlying sales in its third quarter, driven by growth in emerging markets. Sales have increased 6.6 per cent in the year to date.
Growth in developed markets declined during the third quarter but is up 0.8 per cent up in the year to date. Emerging markets reported growth of 11.7 per cent during the quarter.
CEO Paul Polman says the firm has achieved a “good balance” between price and volume growths but adds that the “intensely competitive, promotionally driven” markets in Europe have driven negative price growth in the region.
It has taken steps to innovate in response to the continued economic pressures in Europe and has launched a range of value priced products in Greece under the Elais brand, the company says in a statement.
The firm hailed the successful digital marketing campaigns for Lynx, its recipe based campaign for Hellmann’s mayonnaise and a pan European campaign for Domestos which included a sanitation partnership with UNICEF, for driving growth.
Unilever’s personal and home care divisions, which includes brands such as Dove and Lynx, outperformed its food business, which includes the Knorr, Flora and Hellmann’s brands.
Its refreshment category, which includes ice cream brands Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s delivered “strong growth” while its beverages portfolio, which includes Lipton, “lags the market”.
Polman adds that the company restructure last year and its Sustainable Living Plan is “on track” and is becoming “deeply embedded” in the business.
He says: “The Compass strategy and the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan are driving aligned actions across the business. We are seeing a steady improvement in the quality of our innovation, meeting the needs of consumers wherever they are. The organisational structure that we announced last year is already paying off and we are seeing benefits in terms of our agility and discipline in operational execution.”
Rival Procter & Gamble is due to report earnings later on today (25 October).