Unilever underlying sales rose 3.5% in last quarter

Consumer goods giant Unilever on Thursday reported underlying sales growth for the fourth quarter that was in line with estimates, buoyed by strong demand in emerging markets.

Underlying sales rose 3.5%, for the Anglo-Dutch maker of Dove soap, Hellmann’s mayonnaise and Tresemme shampoo, in line with what analysts on average were expecting, based on a company-supplied consensus.

Chief Executive Alan Jope said: “In a volatile and unpredictable year, we have demonstrated Unilever’s resilience and agility through the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Jope said the company was winning market share in over 60% of its business in the last quarter, on the basis of measurable markets.

Setting out its longer-term targets, Unilever said it would aim for underlying sales growth ahead of its markets, delivering growth in the range of 3% to 5%, as well as profit growth ahead of sales growth.

The coronavirus pandemic has boosted sales of packaged food companies like Unilever, Nestle and Kraft Heinz, though Unilever continued to be hurt by sharp declines in foods served in public places such as on beaches and at restaurants.

In November, the company ditched its Anglo-Dutch dual-headed structure in favor of a single corporate entity based in London. 

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