Unilever’s third quarter trading update was the big fmcg news of the day as the papers dissected how the consumer goods giant was performing after fighting off an unwanted takeover bid from Kraft Heinz earlier this year.
Growth in its third quarter was hit by poor weather in Europe and hurricanes in the Americas, but that it reported a recovery in demand from some of its biggest emerging markets (The Financial Times). Organic growth came in below City expectations in the quarter with like-for-like sales up just 2.6% as it continued to find the market challenging. The Mail notes that ice cream sales at the Ben & Jerry’s maker especially took a hit because of poor weather in the US and Europe in the three months to end of September. The Guardian adds that low-calorie challenger brand Halo Top was also blamed by the Magnum and Wall’s producer maker for the melting ice-cream sales. Unilever was punished by investors after missing sales expectations, The Telegraphwrites. Shares in the company fell by 191.5p, or 4.2%, to £43.57. Lombard in The Financial Times says Unilever needs more deals to weather the competitive storm after the group’s third-quarter update was met with a frosty reception.
The Guardian takes a deeper look at Halo Top: the ‘healthy’ ice-cream taking over America. Marketed as ‘the low-calorie, high-protein and low-sugar’ alternative to ice-cream it is now outselling tubs from Ben & Jerry’s and Häagen-Dazs.
The Short View in The Financial Times looks at the results from all the consumer goods giants – Unilever, Nestlé, Reckitt and Danone – this week and argues that the groups all have low-growth problems and are no bargain buy for investors. “Equity investors say they crave growth at a reasonable price. Yet in the consumer goods space, they are increasingly buying no growth at an unreasonable price.”
Nestlé expects sales growth this year to weaken further from 2016’s historical low as it accelerates a restructuring programme and puts greater emphasis on boosting profitability, The Financial Times writes. The world’s largest food and drinks company said organic growth for the full year would be in line with the 2.6% it reported on Thursday for the first nine months of 2017.
Lord Sainsbury gives an interview to The Financial Times focusing on philanthropy and his 50 years of giving.
M&S’ banking arm is to take on Tesco and Sainsbury’s by offering home loans at ‘competitive rates’ from next year, The Guardian reports.
Pernod Ricard, the world’s second largest distiller by sales, said that organic sales growth accelerated to 5.7 per cent during the first quarter of its new fiscal year (The Financial Times).
Retail sales slid in September as higher prices dampened spending on food and petrol, according the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (The Telegraph). Rising prices and squeezed household budgets prompted a bigger drop in UK retail sales than expected in September, The Financial Times adds. The 0.8% decline last month compared with August was the weakest retail sales growth figures in four years, The Times says.
US cities have showered Amazon with offers of tax breaks as the ecommerce giant’s hunt for a second headquarters sparks an expensive arms race (The Financial Times).