Unilever, the world's second largest maker of branded household products, today posted underlying sales growth of five per cent in the second quarter of the year, falling short of forecasts, due to a slowdown in emerging markets.
The maker of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove skincare products said on Thursday that emerging markets grew by 10.3 per cent in the quarter, slightly down on the 10.4 per cent in the previous quarter, while developed markets fell by 1.3 per cent.
However, the firm managed to post a 14 per cent rise in half-year profits to £3.66bn, due to a strong performance in its home care and personal care division.
Paul Polman, Unilever chief executive says innovations such as the launch of its compressed deodorants range, Vaseline Spray & Go and Magnum 5 Kisses remain the "key driver of growth".
The firm also saw improvement in is refreshment categories, with strong growth in the Middle East and Turkey from the re-launched Lipton Yellow Label tea brand.
Foods sales were held back by a poor performance in its spreads business with underlying growth of 1 percent, and adverse weather earlier this year hitting ice cream sales, giving growth in refreshments of 1.9 percent.
"Growth is slowing in emerging markets, as macroeconomic headwinds influence consumer behaviour," the company said today in a statement.
"Within this overall trend we see a mixed picture across the major countries."
Slackening economic growth in nations such as India and China is a concern to Unilever, which gets about 57 per cent of sales from developing regions.
While Unilever's sales growth was strong in Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia, south Asia was "a little less so."
Polman added that Unilever's "innovation pipeline is robust, which will be vital as we navigate the slowdown in many parts of the world."
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