Unilever Q3 Sales Decline 4.8%

PARIS – Unilever’s third-quarter sales declined 4.8 percent, weighed down by adverse currency effects and the impact of acquisitions and disposals.
The consumer goods giant, parent of brands ranging from Dove and Vaseline to Ben & Jerry’s and Lipton, reported Thursday that its sales in the three months ended September totaled 12.53 billion euros. On an underlying basis, sales rose 3.8 percent.
Unilever said its prestige beauty business accelerated during the period, with double-digit gains in Hourglass, Kate Sommerville, Living Proof and Ren.
Overall, the beauty and personal care division posted underlying sales growth of 4 percent, boosted by improved price growth. Skin care maintained strong momentum, and skin cleansing performed well.
“Growth accelerated in the third quarter across all divisions,” Paul Polman, chief executive officer of Unilever, said in a statement. “We were able to increase prices whilst still maintaining good volume growth, which reflects the strengths of our brands and the quality of our innovation program. Our focus on building our business for the long term continues to deliver high-quality growth.”
The company reiterated it expects underlying sales gains of 3 percent to 5 percent, an improvement in underlying operating margin and strong cash flow. “We remain on track for our 2020 goals,” Polman said.
“We are progressively reaping the benefits of our Connected for Growth program, which is now well embedded throughout the organization, making us simpler, faster and better connected with our consumers,” he continued. “Our innovation pipeline continues to strengthen, and in the third quarter alone we have launched four new brands. We have now successfully completed the disposal of our spreads business and continue the acceleration of our efficiency programs.”
Unilever’s overall sales in the first nine months of 2018 decreased 5.3 percent to 38.73 billion euros. On an organic basis, sales growth came in at 2.9 percent.
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