Unilever posted sales growth of 7.2% (€9.6 billion) for the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Operating profit grew 39% compared to the first quarter of 2007. Growth in personal care of 5.8% was lower than in the first quarter of 2007, reflecting a more even phasing of innovation—according to a company statement.
“We have had a good start to the year, with strong organic growth across our categories and an underlying improvement in operating margin," said Patrick Cescau, group chief executive, Unilever. "We continue to invest behind our brands while taking the necessary pricing action to recover a sharp increase in commodity costs. We have a strong innovation program for 2008, with many important initiatives already in the market. We expect our productivity and value improvement initiatives to continue to deliver excellent results. The disciplined execution of our strategy, together with the combined advantage of strong brands, a product range serving consumers' everyday needs and our broad geographical footprint, leave us well placed to deliver competitive growth with an underlying improvement in operating margin in 2008, despite challenging conditions. While it is early in the year, we now expect underlying sales growth in 2008 to exceed our 3-5% target range.”
According to reports, Unilever shares rose after the company forecast its annual sales to top its target.
For the full report, click here.