Unilever released its results for the first half 2014, which show consistent top and bottom line progress despite significant headwinds. Underlying sales grew 3.7%, with emerging markets up 6.6%, while underlying volume growth was up 1.9% and price was up 1.7%. Turnover decreased by 5.5% to €24.1 billion, with currency down -8.5%.
For the second quarter of 2014, underlying sales growth as 3.8% with underlying volume growth increased 1.9% and price up 1.9%. Commenting on the results, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said, “We continued to grow ahead of our markets driven by strong innovations such as Ben & Jerry’s Cores, compressed deodorants in Europe, Regenerate Enamel Science in oral and Skip Dual Action capsules. At the same time we continue to invest for the long-term with our program to take our brands into new countries with the launches of Lifebuoy in China, Omo in Arabia, and Clear in Japan.”
According to Unilever, market growth continued to slow in emerging countries, particularly in Asia, as macro-economic pressures weighed on consumer spending in its categories. Additionally, developed markets remained weak with little sign of any recovery in North America or Europe. However, for Unilever’s performance, emerging markets grew 6.6% with price up 4.4% and volume growth of 2.1%. Developed markets grew by 0.3% in the second quarter, with positive volume growth partially offset by declining price. All categories grew with good performances, including personal care.
Specifically for Unilever’s personal care division, it continued to grow ahead of slowing markets underpinned by a strong innovation program. Deodorants saw the continued success of the compressed aerosol range in Europe, good growth for Rexona with the successful Do:More campaign, the positive impact of new communication behind Dove Invisible Dry, and the introduction of new packaging for Axe. In oral care, Unilever introduced a new brand, Regenerate Enamel Science, in the United Kingdom, a premium proposition and is the first toothpaste and serum system that regenerates enamel with exactly the same mineral which makes up tooth enamel.
In hair, Unilever saw Clear successfully introduced in Japan and relaunched in key markets such as Brazil and China. TreSemmé benefited from the success of its 7 Day Keratin Smooth range, and Dove Oxygen Moisture made good progress in the U.S. Skin cleansing saw continued strong growth for Lifebuoy, reflecting the success of the proposition to protect against ten infection-causing germs and the introduction of the brand in China. And Dove continued to deliver broad-based growth while Lux benefited from the relaunch in China and Southeast Asia. In skin care, Fair & Lovely delivered strong growth, and the Dove Purely Pampering range was extended into nourishing body oil.