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Emerging Markets Hurt Unilever's Quarterly Sales

Published on Oct 24 2013 10:19 AM in A-Brands

Emerging Markets Hurt Unilever's Quarterly Sales

Unilever today posted what is its worst rate of quarterly sales growth in four years, providing evidence that a slowdown in emerging markets is hitting demand for its consumer goods.

The Anglo-Dutch maker of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove skincare products had warned in September that a slowdown - in places like Indonesia, Brazil and Vietnam - had accelerated, and that it expected underlying sales growth of only 3% to 3.5%.

The company reported a 3.2% rise in third quarter sales, which compared with a 5% increase for the second quarter.

Unilever said its spreads division, which accounts for around a quarter of foods sales, showed "a progressive improvement". Sales, however, were down amid "weakness in the market" and lower prices, reflecting "benign" commodity costs.

Third-quarter sales came in at €12.5bn, a decline of 6.5% compared with the same period last year.

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"This is a soft quarter without a shadow of a doubt," Chief Financial Officer Jean Marc Huet told Reuters in an interview.

Unilever's shares were down 0.7% in London early this morning.

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