Unilever hit by sales slowdown in key markets

 
Kasmira Jefford
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UNILEVER, the consumer goods giant behind Wall’s ice-cream and Persil laundry detergent, reported a 6.5 per cent slump in turnover in the third quarter after suffering a dramatic slowdown in emerging markets.

The FTSE 100 group has been hit by a slowdown in countries such as Indonesia, Brazil and India after uncertainty over whether the US Federal Reserve will scale back its bond-buying stimulus led to sharp falls in currencies in those markets.

The Anglo-Dutch company, which already prepared the market with a profit warning last month, said turnover fell to €12.5bn (£10.6bn) compared with the third quarter last year, dragged down by an 8.5 per cent hit from foreign exchange rates.

Underlying sales rose 3.2 per cent compared with five per cent growth in the second quarter.

In emerging markets, where Unilever generates more than half its annual sales, growth slowed from 10.3 per cent in the first half to 5.9 per cent.

“The reality is that the global economy is not in as good shape as some would like to make out,” chief executive Paul Polman said.

“I believe we have to calibrate our expectations a little more as we navigate these choppy waters.”

Meanwhile Europe fared better with like-for-like sales up 0.4 per cent in the period, helped by stronger ice-cream sales in northern Europe.

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