Jul 25, 2019
Bad weather hits Unilever ice cream sales
Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant missed profit estimates as its results were hit by bad weather which knocked ice cream sales in Europe and North America. The group reported operating profit of €4.6m for the first six months of the year, behind analyst expectations of €5m. Underlying sales growth rose 3.5 per cent helped by a boost in its emerging markets and home care business. The producer of Dove soap and Hellmann's mayonnaise also confirmed that underlying sales growth, which strips out the effect of currency swings and acquisitions or disposals, would come in at 3 to 4 per cent this year, and reiterated its target for profit margins to reach 20 per cent by 2020. The latter goal, which was set under the previous chief executive, Paul Polman, has proven controversial among some investors who argue that Unilever would be better off spending more on marketing and new product innovation in order to spark faster top-line growth. Unilever chief executive Alan Jope, who took over in January, is trying to improve sluggish sales growth in the face of changing consumer preferences toward healthier foods and more nimble upstart brands able to quickly respond and take market share.
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