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Unilever's Q3 sales rise, beauty up despite some tough global markets

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today Oct 17, 2019
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Unilever’s Q3 trading statement on Thursday showed the Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant continuing to shrug off the volatile state of the consumer market, even if its sales rises were fairly modest. Overall turnover rose 5.8% to €13.3 billion, while underlying sales growth (USG) was 2.9%. 


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That latter figure divided into 1.4% volume growth and 1.5% price growth, while the total turnover figure was boosted to the tune of 2.3% by currency effects and 0.8% by acquisitions. 

Unilever is helped by its massive global reach that allows some markets to prosper even if others are seeing slowdowns. For instance, it said that in Europe and North America, growth remained low, but South East Asian markets continued to grow well, although growth in India softened further and China slowed a little. In Latin America the economic environment remained difficult.

Of the company’s three operating divisions, Beauty & Personal Care is its largest and here, the company said underlying sales rose 2.8% to €5.6 billion with 2.1% from volume expansion and 0.7% from price.

In skincare, innovations including Pond's Glow Up cream, a hybrid product across skincare and make-up, saw good performance and underlined the trend for consumers to buy higher-performance products that streamline their beauty routines. 

Skin cleansing saw modest growth, with negative pricing as commodity prices remained weak. But growth in emerging markets was helped by activations such as the extension of Clear Men into skin cleansing in China. 

Competitive intensity remained high in haircare, in particular in the US and China where it continued to focus on “innovating and increasing market activity”. This included developing “on-trend new formats” such as Love Beauty and Planet's shampoo and conditioner bars, that tap into rising consumer demand for minimal packaging. 

Its prestige brands, such as Dermalogica, Hourglass and Living Proof, also continued to “perform well”. Deodorants performed well too, with continued success from the rollout of the Rexona Clinical range, based on its new patented anti-perspirant technology.

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