Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Unilever Sees Slow UK Sales

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Unilever Sees Slow UK Sales

Article excerpt

CONSUMER goods giant Unilever said that its markets in the UK and Western Europe have been trailing behind emerging markets as the sluggish economic climate hits sales.

The group, which owns brands ranging from Magnum ice creams, Dove soap and Domestos bleach, said underlying sales volumes in Western Europe edged up 0.2% in the first half of the year compared to 5% in Asia and Africa.

Elsewhere, the group said its margins were down 0.2% as it battled to offset increasing raw material costs with pricing and savings. Prices in western Europe were up by 1.1%, compared with 5% in its Americas region. The group reported a 9% increase in pre-tax profits in the six months to June to pounds 3.2bn as turnover increased 4% to pounds 22.8bn.

Paul Polman, Unilever chief executive, said: "In a tough and volatile environment we have again delivered strong growth. Volumes were robust and in line with the market, despite having taken price increases."

Unilever said Western Europe remains challenging, but was driven by strong performances in Germany and France. …

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