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Unilever second-quarter sales growth falls short of estimates

Unilever second-quarter sales growth falls short of estimates
FILE PHOTO: Unilever headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo -
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Piroschka Van De Wouw(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – Consumer goods giant Unilever Plc <ULVR.L> <UNc.AS> reported slightly weaker-than-expected quarterly underlying sales growth on Thursday, hit by wet weather in Europe and North America, and moderating growth in India.

The maker of Dove soap and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream said underlying sales rose 3.5% in the second quarter. Analysts on average were expecting a 3.7% rise, according to a company-supplied consensus.

“Accelerating growth remains our top priority and we continue to evolve our portfolio and seek out fast growth channel and geographical opportunities, as well as address those performance hotspots where growth is falling short of our aspirations,” Chief Executive Officer Alan Jope said.

Jope, who took over in January, has been pushing deeper into markets such as Vietnam and Bangladesh as an emerging middle class rapidly consumes the company’s household goods products.

Underlying sales in emerging markets rose 7.4% in the quarter, while they fell 1.6% in developed markets, mainly due to lower ice-cream sales in Europe during the months of April and May.

Turnover inched lower to 13.7 billion euros (£12.2 billion) and the company said it continues to expect full-year underlying sales growth to be in the lower half of its multi-year 3% to 5% target range.

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in London and Shashwat Awasthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)

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