Unilever this week kicked off a strategy reset to focus on its core brands and sell off the Dollar Shave Club.

In its third quarter results on Thursday, the Anglo-Dutch multinational pledged to focus on its 30 core brands and ruled out “major or transformational acquisitions”.

It also announced the sale of Dollar Shave Club, the online personal grooming brand bought in 2016 for $1bn, to US PE player Nexus Capital Management for an undisclosed sum. It will retain a 35% stake in the business.

“This marks another step in our journey to transition our portfolio towards core strategic growth areas,” said Fabian Garcia, president of Unilever personal care.

The message was reiterated by CEO Hein Schumacher, as he outlined the group’s new action plan to build the business around the 30 core brands that represent over 70% of the group’s turnover.

The group will invest in innovation and increase overall brand investment while focusing on portfolio optimisation, Schumacher pledged.

Additionally, it will look to build back gross margin through improved productivity rather than gross cost savings.

“Unilever is a company with strong fundamentals… [but] our performance in recent years has not matched our potential,” said Schumacher.

“The quality of our growth, productivity and returns have all under-delivered. Our performance in recent years has not matched our potential. Today we are setting out our action plan to close this gap.”

The strategy announcement coincided with news that third quarter underlying sales growth eased back to 5.2% from 7.7% in the year so far, with pricing up 5.8% and volumes down 0.6%.

The group noted that underlying volumes were positive in beauty & wellbeing, personal care and home care, but were dragged down by volume drops in nutrition and ice cream.

The proportion of its business growing market share fell to 38% as the group remains impacted by SKU reductions, the effects of pricing and consumer shifts in certain markets.

Russ Mould of AJ Bell commented: ““The announced sale of Dollar Shave Club suggests the company is moving away from buying emerging brands – which have tended to look more like fads than anything likely to endure for the long term – at a premium.

“[Its action plan] seems pretty sensible, but it is not enough to get the market excited, particularly when combined with the mixed third quarter numbers.”

Unilever shares fell 2.6% to 3,910 on Thursday and are down by more than 10% over the past six months.