Unilever today reported sales growth of 7% for the past six months – despite the “deteriorating” economic climate.

Turnover at the FMCG giant was up 11.5% at €25.4bn (£19.9bn), with second-quarter underlying sales growth of 5.8%.

The company was boosted by underlying sales growth of 11.4% in the first half in its emerging markets but admitted its core operating margin had been flat, reflecting increased advertising and promotional costs.

Price hikes of around 4% bolstered the figures.

“Despite deteriorating global economic conditions and a competitive environment which remains intense, we again delivered volume growth ahead of our markets and gained value share across the majority of our business,” said chief executive Paul Polman (pictured).

“Our performance reflects continued investment in innovation, brand-building and people, while keeping discipline on both costs and execution.”

The company said highlights in its performance included savoury growth underpinned by strong performances in Knorr cooking products and soups as well as strong ice cream sales, despite the poor weather conditions in northern Europe.