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Unilever Q3 sales beat forecasts, keeps margin guidance

Unilever on Thursday reported higher-than-expected third quarter underlying sales growth, as it hiked prices in response to cost inflation.
The consumer goods and food maker said underlying sales rose 2.5% for the three months to September 30, beating the 2.2% of analysts’ forecasts.

Chief executive Alan Jope said cost inflation “remains at strongly elevated levels, and this will continue into next year”. Turnover increased 4% to €13.5bn (£11.4bn). On a nine month basis it was up 1.7% to €39.3bn.

Growth was boosted by good demand in the US, India, China and Turkey, while a 4.1% increase in prices offset a 1.5% volume decline.

The maker of Vaseline and Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream said North America and Europe markets declined against a high base in the prior year driven by demand for in-home food and hygiene products during the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns.

It added that conditions across South East Asia continues to be challenging, with the quarter impacted by lockdown restrictions in the region.

“We have and will continue to respond across our categories and markets, taking appropriate pricing action and implementing a range of productivity measures to offset increased costs,” Jope said.

“We continue to expect that we will deliver in line with our margin guidance of around flat for the full year.”

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