Consumer goods giant Unilever has posted a 3.1% increase in sales in full-year 2018, driven by a 2.1% increase in volume and a 1.0% price increase.
The figures exclude the Unilever spreads business, which the firm offloaded to private equity firm KKR last summer.
Underlying operating margin for the year increased by 90 basis points, the company said, while underlying earnings per share were up 5.2%.
Turnover was impacted by an adverse currency impact of 6.7% however, as well as hyperinflation in Argentina.
“2018 was a solid year for Unilever, with good volume growth and high-quality margin progression,” said the firm’s chief executive, Alan Jope.
“Looking forward, accelerating growth will be our number one priority. With so many of our brands enjoying leadership positions, we have significant opportunities to develop our markets, as well as to benefit from our deep global reach and purpose-led brands.”
In terms of the group’s individual divisions, its Beauty & Personal Care arm saw sales rise 3.1%, driven by a 2.5% volume gain, with its biggest brand, Dove, seeing ‘another year of broad-based growth’.
Its Foods & Refreshment division posted 2.3% sales growth, with 1.6% volume growth, while Home Care sales grew 4.2%, with 2.3% volume growth.
Commenting on the year ahead, Jope added, “We will capitalise on our strengthened organisation and portfolio, and our digital transformation programme, to bring higher levels of speed and agility.
“Strong delivery from our savings programmes will improve productivity and fund our growth ambitions.”
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.