Unilever chief executive Paul Polman said the fmcg giant is “on track to restoring volume growth” after announcing a rise in third-quarter like-for-like sales of 3.4%.

The company said its ice cream and drinks arm – which produces brands including Lipton, Magnum and Cornetto – had notched up growth of 4.3% for the year to date. Its personal care business, which includes Dove soaps, grew by 4.8% over the same period.

Underlying profits for the past three months rose 2% to €1.7bn. But total sales for the group for the year to date dipped by 0.7%, reflecting fluctuations in currency and disposals including the sale of its Bertolli olive oil business last year.

The results come after Polman last month outlined a series of radical measures the company had taken to ride out the recession, including replacing 40 of the business’s top 100 managers.

Announcing the latest numbers, Polman hailed “good progress across all regions and the majority of countries and categories”.

“Our market shares are responding to stronger innovations, greater consumer value, increased marketing support and better execution,” he said. “Market conditions remain challenging and in this environment we will continue to increase investment behind our brands and build long-term capabilities in research and development.

"We are on track towards our objective of restoring volume growth while protecting margins and cash flow for the year as a whole.”

Read More
Unilever boss confident that company is fit (17 October 2009)
Unilever enlists help of indie expert panel (10 October 2009)
More Unilever stories...