Homecare brands boost performance for Unilever

Unilever has reported “solid and good quality growth” this morning. Its half-year results show homecare brands including Surf and Comfort, performing well.

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Sales growth is up 4.1% with volume sales increasing 2% over the period, the first positive volume growth after five consecutive quarters of decline.

The company, which owns brands such as Dove and Lynx attributes its results to increased marketing spend, innovation and better execution.

“I am encouraged by the progress we have made, but there is more to be done,” says Unilever chief executive Paul Polman.

The home care category seeing more growth than other categories at 9.9 with momentum growing for its concentrated laundry detergent brand Small and Mighty.

The chief executive also commented that the FMCG giant must be acutely aware of the challenges from low cost local and private label brands as consumers search for better value products.

Polman intends to strengthen Unilever’s core brands and categories by focussing on fewer projects, backed up with stronger advertising.

“Our brand equity must be stronger and we must be able to make them come alive in the market,” he says.

His strategy is to concentrate on long term improvement of the company over short term gains and remains “realistic” about the economy, foreseeing further tough times ahead before any upturn.

Polman took over from Patrick Cescau as chief executive of Unilever in January 2009. He was formerly at Procter & Gamble for 25 years before joining Nestle.

He is tasked with seeing through the One Unilever change programme begun by Cescau to make the company more efficient, bring innovation to market more quickly and strengthen the global activity of brands.

Unilever has started a review of all its media agencies in several key markets with a view to consolidation.

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