Unilever has announced an increase in like-for-like sales of more than 8% for the last three months, with the consumer products giant lifting its growth forecasts for the remainder of the year.
Like-for-like sales rose by 8.3% over the third quarter, buoyed by strong performances in emerging markets, although its western European business showed growth of just 2.5% for the period.
Due to disposals including the sale of its US laundry business, the company generated pre-tax profits of just over €2.5bn for the past three months, with underlying profits rising by around 9%.
The company said it had offset cost increases of €2bn with price rises and a round of cost-cutting that had saved up to €800m.
“Despite the price rises needed in the light of unprecedented cost increases, our volumes are holding up,” said chief executive Patrick Cescau. “Our cost-savings programmes are far-reaching and on-track to deliver. We have been reshaping the portfolio, allowing us to focus our resources where it matters most; behind our brands and our priority categories. All this leaves us well placed for the future.”
He added: “This year we now expect to deliver underlying sales growth well in excess of our long-term target range of 3%-5%, together with an underlying improvement in operating margin for the year.”