Unilever has confirmed that growth of its leading brands will fall below 3% for the year.

The maker of Hellmann’s mayonnaise, Dove soap and Knorr soups said third quarter pre-tax profit rose 10% to 1.42bn euros on the back of cost savings. But turnover was flat at 12.3bn euros.

Unilever chairman Niall FitzGerald was “disappointed” with topline growth. And added: “With over a year to go until we reach the end of Path to Growth, the under-performing parts of the business will be progressively improved and higher levels of leading brand growth will resume.”

At current rates of exchange third quarter sales fell 7% and by 12% over the first nine months of the year, Unilever said.

At constant exchange rates sales of the Anglo-Dutch group’s leading brands grew 3.2% in the third quarter and now account for 92% of its business.