Oct 21, 2021
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Unilever sales rise as pricing power kicks in

Oct 21, 2021

Consumer goods mega-giant Unilever had good news on Thursday as it beat Q3 sales growth predictions and kept its full-year profit margin guidance in place due to its brand power enabling it to hike prices to cope with rising costs. 


The Dove and Hourglass owner said underlying sales rose 2.5% in the July to September period, boosted by growth in the US India, China and Turkey. And although volumes fell 1.5%, a 4.1% increase in prices more than offset a 1.5% volume drop. Total turnover reached €13.5 billion.

The group's biggest division is Beauty & Personal Care and turnover here on an underlying basis was up 2.6% at €5.7 billion. Although it was down 1.3% on a volume basis, by value it rose 3.9%. 

The company said its skincare ops grew in high-single-digits, with double-digit growth from its Vaseline brand, and deodorants up in mid-single-digits. 

But while skin cleansing saw a step up in pricing, underlying sales declined overall as the firm “lapped significantly increased demand in the prior year related to Covid-19”. Makers of skin cleansing products globally saw booming sales last year as consumers washed and sanitised their hands more frequently in the face of the pandemic and that kind of growth would always have been had to match this time.

Haircare grew in low-single-digits, with mid-single-digit price growth and negative volumes. Its Dove hair therapy innovation in North America, “which applies state-of-the-art skincare ingredients to hair”, continued to perform well. 

Importantly too, its Prestige Beauty brands (that have seen increased investment in recent periods) grew in double-digits and it continued to launch more sustainable products. For instance, its prestige vegan brand Hourglass launched its new customisable, refillable Curator eyeshadow palettes. 

The company also said it increased pricing in the beauty division in response to commodity inflation across categories and regions. 

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