Unilever, the maker of consumer products including Dove soaps and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, managed to report growth in sales and volumes helped by price increases, innovation and slight improvements in its food and refreshments businesses, however it said it faced slowing markets and a tough competitive environment in the first quarter.
The group also raised its quarterly dividend by 6% to
In the past, Unilever was reporting double-digit growth in emerging markets on a regular basis, however as demand has slowed, so has sales and volume growth.
"Emerging markets are currently passing through a period of slower demand and economic volatility but our strategy remains unchanged," said Chief Executive
The group reported a 6.3% fall in revenue for the first quarter to
Unilever reported underlying sales growth of 3.6% for the period, driven by its personal care division and boosted by 6.6% growth in emerging markets. It reported 1.9% growth in underlying volumes, with pricing up 1.6%.
"We saw a continuation of the competitive performances in Home Care and Personal Care and a strong start to the year in Refreshment," said Polman.
The group has continued to invest in its brands, and has been pumping money into its under-invested Spread business, in hopes of improvement within the division.
"We are now gaining market share in margarines in
During the quarter, Unilever said that
Unilever said it saw a robust performance in its personal care division, driven by innovation products like its new compressed aerosols, and again brands like Dove, Lux, and Vaseline.
Unilever blamed the timing of Easter for its decline in sales within its food division, as well as weak markets, particularly in regards to its Spreads business, as well as weak sales in dressings, which has been dragging on the group's performance as of late.
"Despite the successful launches of great-tasting products like Rama with Butter in
Within its refreshments division, Unilever said that strong growth in the quarter was driven by ice cream in
Unilever said it said strong growth in
It said that
Unilever shares were down 1.56% Thursday morning at
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