Thursday 17 October 2019 9:58 am

Unilever misses estimates amid slowdown in emerging markets

Consumer goods giant Unilever missed City estimates this morning as tough weather comparatives and a slowdown in several emerging markets dented sales.

The Ben and Jerry’s ice cream maker has posted underlying sales growth of €13.3bn (£11.5bn) for the third quarter, marking a 2.9 per cent rise that narrowly came below consensus expectations.

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Signs of an economic slowdown in India and China have dented two of the firm’s most important emerging markets, which have become a priority since boss Alan Jope replaced Paul Polman at the start of this year.

The FTSE 100 giant, which is behind brands such as Lipton and Dove, also struggled to boost sales against tough comparisons of a blazing summer last year.

Jope said: “For the full year, we continue to expect underlying sales growth to be in the lower half of our multi-year three to five per cent range, an improvement in underlying operating margin that keeps us on track for the 2020 target and another year of strong free cash flow.”

“Unilever is a real bellwether company, given its range of consumer staple products and geographical spread – particularly against the backdrop of an uncertain global economic outlook,” said Nicla Di Palma, equity analyst at Brewin Dolphin.