15 - Unilever House
Image Source: Ian Wright
Unilever House in London, the company's headquarters.
Chloe Shakesby

Unilever reports "good start to the year" as food sales climb nearly 10 per cent

An international consumer goods company has announced that its food sales increased by nearly 10 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

Unilever, which owns brands including Ben & Jerry’s, Lynx and Radox, reported underlying sales growth of 5.7 per cent compared to the same period last year.

During the period, Unilever reported the most growth in its food and beverages division, with sales increasing by 9.8 per cent.

Its homecare and personal care divisions also grew during the period, by 5.9 per cent and 2.3 per cent respectively.

However, the company saw turnover decrease slightly, falling by 0.9 per cent to €12.3bn, which it attributed to a currency-related impact.

Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever, commented: “Unilever has made a good start to the year. Our focus on operational excellence, innovation, and purposeful brands is continuing to strengthen competitiveness and has delivered underlying sales growth of 5.7 per cent for the quarter.

We are driving the evolution of our portfolio, with strong growth in Prestige Beauty and Functional Nutrition. The operational separation of our Tea business is on track.

“We are also making good progress in creating a new unit, Elida Beauty, comprising a number of our smaller beauty and personal care brands.

“We are confident that we will deliver underlying sales growth in 2021 within our multi-year framework of 3-5% per cent, with the first half around the top of this range.

“We expect to increase underlying operating margin slightly for the full year, though with a decline in the first half driven by Covid-19 impacts, higher cost inflation and increased marketing spend over the prior year.

“Following another year of strong cash flow delivery, Unilever’s board has approved a share buyback programme of up to €3bn.

“We are committed to delivering superior long-term financial performance through our sustainable business model, which we believe has never been more relevant than it is today.”

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