Unilever reported second quarter sales growth of 7.1% and first half sales growth 5.7%. For the first half of the year, sales were up 4.1% to €22.8 billion.
“We are making encouraging progress in the transformation of Unilever to a sustainable growth company," said Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever. "Our emerging markets business continues to deliver double-digit growth. Performance in Western Europe was also strong in the second quarter so that the half year results reflect the true progress we have been making.
"Bigger and better innovation rolled out faster and moving our brands into white spaces continue to be the biggest drivers of growth. We are now striving to go further and faster still. For example, Dove Hair Damage Therapy will be in more than 30 markets by the end of the year, Magnum has been rolled out to the United States and Indonesia and the Vaseline Men face range has been launched in South East Asia. We also continue to transform the portfolio with the integration of Sara Lee brands largely complete and Alberto Culver progressing rapidly,” said Polman.
Deodorants extended its track record of consistent growth with a strong performance from Dove, driven by the rollout of Dove Men+Care and the Dove Beauty Finish innovation for women. The Axe Excite variant is proving to be one of the most successful in recent years, the company reported. The relaunch of Dove Hand & Body lotions has started promisingly in Europe, and skin cleansing was more mixed with strong growth in Dove Nutrium Moisture, Radox Spa and Lifebuoy offset by generally weaker growth in soap bars following price increases.
Hair saw continuing strong performance from Dove Damage Therapy and Dove Nourishing Oil Care, coupled with the impact of the relaunch of Clear in Asia. The earthquake in Japan caused serious disruption to local business, but the brands are now coming back on stream.
Oral care benefited from the rollout of premium innovations such as Sensitive Expert, now launched in Europe and Turkey, and Close-Up Fire-Freeze which is being launched in North Africa, Middle East, Vietnam, Pakistan and Brazil and is continuing to do well in India.