Unilever reports strong sales growth despite ‘challenging conditions’

Unilever has reported sales growth of 10.6% in the quarter and now expects sales growth for the full year to be above 8%, despite having faced “challenging macroeconomic conditions.”

The FMCG giant also reported a 17.8% turnover increase with price growth stepping up to 12.5%, however volumes saw a decline of 1.6%.

One of its strongest growing sectors included ice cream which saw sales grow by 13.2%, with 12% from price and 1% from volume.

“Strong pricing allows us to continue to drive increased investment behind our brands,” Unilever CEO, Alan Jope said.

“Our organisation is now better structured to deliver consistent growth through a simpler, more category-focused operating model. The full benefits will be realised over time, and we are seeing encouraging early signs of improved accountability and faster decision-making.”

He added that the company’s “macroeconomic outlook remains mixed, and we expect the challenges of high inflation to persist in 2023. The delivery of consistent growth remains our first priority.”

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Commenting on the results, Simon-Kucher & Partners global consultancy partner, Rosalind Hunter said: “Unilever released their third quarter results this morning with sales outperforming market expectations, annual sales growth expectations were also revised upwards.

“Unilever’s varied portfolio shows strong sales performance in response to increasing prices across the board. Both Ice Cream and Nutrition volumes grew, with higher temperatures in the northern hemisphere this summer likely supporting out-of-home post pandemic recovery.”

This news comes as Jope announced he will be retiring from his role at the end of next year, and following Unilever’s third quarter results, Wealth Club head of equities Charlie Huggins said, “a solid third quarter comes too little, too late for Unilever’s CEO, Alan Jope.”

He commented that “on the back of several years of disappointing performance”, the next CEO “faces a monumental task”.

Huggins said the brand is too big, making it “much less agile and entrepreneurial than smaller competitors,” and that “one solution is brand disposals.”

However, despite this he added: “Underneath it all, Unilever remains a good business. It owns some strong brands which tend to hold up well in tough times, generating healthy margins.”



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