Unilever sees improved performance with more to come in Personal Care


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Unilever sees improved performance with more to come in Personal Care

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Improving sales in a number of markets, including the US and China, has given Anglo-Dutch consumer giant Unilever a boost with improved results for the first quarter of 2015; and there is still room for further improvement in Personal Care.

Newly published results show that turnover increased 12.3% to €12.8 billion, while underlying sales rose 2.8%, excluding the impact of currency moves, acquisitions and disposals; and company CEO Paul Polman says the company is now experiencing more tailwinds than headwinds.

“We have had a strong start to the year, helped by favourable currency movements and an improvement in underlying sales,”​ he says. “This is despite a continued challenging trading environment in many parts of the world.”

“Despite high levels of currency and commodity volatility, we are now starting to see more tailwinds than headwinds in our markets, and expect our initiatives to deliver a further improvement in volume growth in the remainder of the year.”

Personal Care to push on

Personal Care is still the largest contributing business unit in terms of turnover with €4.8 million for Q1, which shows improved growth, but this still remains below historic levels in competitive markets.

As such, there is still an opportunity to push on in the market and acceleration is expected in the second part of the year.

“We have further strengthened the innovation pipeline, and are increasing investment behind the core of our brands, as well as extending into premium segments and new markets,”​ explains Polman. “We continuously strengthen our go-to-market capabilities and sharpen our execution.”

Within the Personal Care segment, deodorants performed well, supported by the newly introduced dry sprays in North America and the launch of the new Axe Black variants.

In hair Dove saw continued success of its Advanced Hair series and TRESemmé launched the Perfectly (Un)done collection in the US.

In France, Unilever is also introducing Zendium, a premium toothpaste that boosts the mouth’s natural defences, and it remains to be seen what advances the company makes following the acquisition of the REN Skincare brand last month.

Regionally, North America, India and China have all seen a pick-up for Unilever; however the Europe markets remain weak, whilst there has also been a deterioration in Brazil and Russia. Emerging markets grew by 5.4%, largely driven by price.

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