In the wake of its acquisition of the "disruptive" Dollar Shave club, Unilever has announced first-half 2016 turnover of €26.3 billion, a drop of 2.6%, year-over-year. Net profit rose 2% to €2.7 billion.
The company attributed toe drop to changes in the exchange rate and declared "underlying sales growth" of 4.7% for the period, with volume up 2.2%. Emerging market underlying sales growth was 8.0% for the period.
All personal care sub-categories grew in volume, according to the company, led by deodorants. The segment was boosted by dry sprays in North America and Rexona Antibacterial in 36 countries.
Supplementing its Dollar Shave acquisition, Unilever refocused the Axe range to grow men's grooming.
Hair care was supported by success with the relaunch of Sunsilk relaunch, as well as the TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume reverse washing range.
Lifebuoy grew in emerging markets, driven by Unilever's handwashing campaign.
“Our first-half results further demonstrate the progress we have made in the transformation of Unilever to deliver consistent, competitive, profitable and responsible growth," said CEO Paul Polman. "Despite a challenging environment with slower global economic growth and intensifying geopolitical instability, we have again grown profitably and ahead of our markets driven by strong innovations."
He added, “This consistency of performance, achieved during a period of high volatility and accelerating change, shows that our long-term focus is paying off. We are seeing the benefits from delivery against the four differentiated Category strategies that continue to guide investment in our brands, infrastructure and people."
Polman concluded, “We have been preparing ourselves for tougher market conditions in 2016 and do not see any sign of an improving global economy. Against this backdrop we continue to drive agility and cost discipline, implementing the key initiatives announced at the end of last year: Net Revenue Management, Zero-Based Budgeting and ‘Connected 4 Growth’ which is the next stage in our organisational transformation. Our priorities continue to be volume-driven growth ahead of our markets, steady improvement in core operating margin and strong cash flow.”