UK: Unilever H1 sales hampered by slowdown in food and emerging markets
Unilever has unveiled its H1 financial results, revealing that its overall sales have been impacted by slow growth in its food businesses and in emerging economies, as well as declining prices in developed economies.
The multinational posted total sales for the first half of 2014 of €24.1bn ($32.5bn), with underlying sales growth beneath analyst estimates at 3.7%.
Speaking to Reuters, Unilever's Chief Financial Officer Jean-Marc Huet commented: "Overall there's a slowdown in Asia," mentioning China and Vietnam in particular, and adding: "Russia has been difficult, you can imagine why".
The company's food business fared relatively poorly. After a dip in sales of 1.7% in the first quarter, the business bounced back in the second quarter with underlying sales up 0.7%, but overall food sales for the first half of the year were still down 0.5%.
While pricing was up 1.9% overall, strong competition and weak consumer demand in northern Europe and North America saw prices fall 1.4%
"Our markets have been challenging and we have experienced a further slowdown in the emerging countries whilst developed markets are not yet picking up," CEO Paul Polman commented. However the company emphasised that it still expected to outperform its markets.
Source: Just Food / Reuters