Unilever share price falls as it records lowest growth in five years

 
Catherine Neilan
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Dove soap: One of Unilever's many brands (Source: Getty).
While Dave Lewis is putting out one fire at his new employer Tesco, things back at Unilever are also looking less than rosy.
The consumer goods business, where Lewis had worked for 28 years before becoming Tesco chief executive, this morning reported its weakest rate of quarterly sales growth in five years.
Underlying sales grew just 2.1 per cent in the third quarter, compared with the 3.7 per cent growth experienced during the first half of the year – well below analyst expectations.
Unilever's share price dropped as much as 4.8 per cent this morning on the back of the news.
Paul Polman said market growth slowed in emerging countries “particularly in China”, while price deflation and a poor summer in Europe also hampered performance, despite an improvement in North America.
“Altogether this resulted in reduced third quarter growth, but still ahead of our markets,” Polman said.
“We continued to invest behind our brands and innovations so that we are well-positioned for the long term growth opportunities which remain fully intact.
“We expect markets to remain tough for at least the remainder of the year. We have further accelerated our initiatives to remove unnecessary cost, simplify the business and ensure that Unilever is both agile and resilient."

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