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Unilever sales growth continues to slow

Underlying sales growth in the three months to end-September of 2.9%, was down from 3.5% in the second quarter and 3.1% in the first

Unilever PLC - Vaseline

Unilever PLC (LON:ULVR) sales growth continued to slow in the third quarter but the Vaseline, Pot Noodle and Domestos owner said it expected an improvement in profit margins.

Underlying sales growth in the three months to end-September of 2.9%, was down from 3.5% in the second quarter and 3.1% in the first.

The FTSE 100 giant increased revenue 5.8% to €13.25bn in the third quarter, which was in line with the average analyst forecast of €13.27bn, with a sizeable 2.3% impact from currency swings.

A dividend per share of 0.41 euro cents will be paid for the quarter.

Chief executive Alan Jope has previously said that accelerating growth remains his “top priority”, so will have been disappointed with the slowdown, but maintained that Unilever had “maintained momentum in the quarter, with a good balance between volume and price”.

“Emerging markets and Home Care have been the key growth drivers,” he added. “We will step-up competitive top line performance through innovation and portfolio evolution to serve the faster growing geographies and channels.”

The board continues to be confident full-year underlying sales growth will be in the lower half of the multi-year 3-5% guidance range along with keeping to the prior wording of “an improvement in underlying operating margin that keeps us on track for the 2020 target and another year of strong free cash flow”.

Quick facts: Unilever PLC

Price: 4625.5 GBX

LSE:ULVR
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £121.57 billion
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