Imperial Leather maker PZ Cussons has named a new commercial director after announcing its first-half performance was in line with expectations.

Former Africa regional chief Chris Davis steps up to become commercial director at the consumer products giant, which today said sales and profits for the six months to 30 November were both up on last year.

The company said it had achieved “continued good growth” in the UK “despite a worsening economic environment and increasingly challenging trading conditions.”

Premium beauty brand The Sanctuary, which PZ Cussons acquired in January in a £75m deal, was said to be “performing well”.

Sales figures will be announced at the beginning of next year.

“The impact of rising raw material costs in the first half is expected to be mitigated by margin improvement initiatives together with lower raw material costs in the second half of the year,” the company said in a statement.