Unilever third quarter results rebound; refuses short term performance targets due to ‘highly unpredictable’ environment

Unilever third quarter results rebound; refuses short term performance targets due to ‘highly unpredictable’ environment

THE WHAT? Unilever Q3 2020 results have reported a better-than-expected growth with underlying sales rising 4 percent, up on analyst predictions of 1.3 percent. 

THE DETAILS Sales were bolstered by its largest revenue contributor, emerging markets, which saw an increase of 5.3 percent YOY, while developed markets rose 5.3 percent. 

The personal care category reported a 3.8 percent increase, with demand for hand hygiene products remaining high, ‘albeit slightly below levels seen in the second quarter.’ Skin cleansing delivered underlying sales growth of 19.9%.

The sector was further bolstered by innovation, such as Dove’s entry into the antibacterial segment, and the extension of Lifebuoy into new formats and channels across several European markets.

Alan Jope, CEO, said, “Volume-led growth shows the resilience of our portfolio and our agility in responding to rapidly changing dynamics across consumer segments, geographies and channels.”

THE WHY? While the results may have shown Unilever’s ability to quickly adapt to changing consumer habits amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the company is remaining cautious about the future. 

Declining to offer any short-term performance targets, Jope stated that he was, “perplexed by talk of a quick recovery” from the crisis. 

He continued, “The environment we are operating in will remain unpredictable in the near term, so we will continue to maintain the speed and agility of our response. Our focus remains volume-led competitive growth, delivering absolute profit and free cash flow.” 

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