Unilever sales rise on emerging markets boost

Consumer giant Unilever this morning posted a 5.9 per cent increase in underlying sales, boosted by a 12.1 per cent rise in sales from the emerging markets.

The world’s third-largest consumer group posted turnover of €13.4bn (£8.3bn) over the three months to September, with a positive 4.1 per cent impact from foreign exchange.

Over the nine months to September, sales increased 6.6 per cent, driven by an 11.7 per cent growth in the emerging markets.

Chief executive Paul Polman said this morning that the economic environment will remain “challenging”.

“Commodity cost inflation is high and remains volatile and there is no sign that the level of competition will ease,” he said.

Polman added: “In this challenging environment there is no change to our objectives, which remain: profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin improvement and strong cash flow. For 2012 we remain on track to deliver a modest improvement in core operating margin.”