Unilever confident NPD investment will pay off despite sales slowdown

Unilever has restated its commitment to investing in innovation backed by marketing spend after reporting a slowdown in sales from emerging markets and another dip in sales from developed markets.

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A slow-down in sales from emerging market sales put the brakes in the third quarter.

The Flora, Dove and Ben & Jerry’s maker says sales grew 3.2 per cent in the three months to 30 September compared with 5 per cent in the second quarter.

Sales income from emerging markets, where the company generates more than half of sales from, grew 5.9 per cent – markedly less than the 10.3 per cent growth registered in the first-half.

Sales from developed markets, which include the UK, “remain flat to down”, the company says, adding there is “little sign of any improvement so far”.

In a statement, chief executive Paul Polman says he expects new product developments – essential in categories such as home and personal care, where innovation is necessary to boost otherwise flat growth – to lead to improvements in the fourth quarter.

“We will continue to accelerate our innovations, backed with competitive support, to build long term growth and value,” he adds.  

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