Inflation Boosts Sales Growth at Unilever in H1 – WWD

LONDON Ongoing inflation boosted first-half sales growth at Unilever, where turnover rose 2.7 percent year-on-year to 30.4 billion euros.

The parent of brands including Dove, Dermalogica and Hellmann’s said that underlying sales for the six-month period were up 9.1 percent, due chiefly to price growth which is set to fall in the second half of the year as cost inflation comes down.

Sales in Unilever’s Beauty and Wellbeing division rose 8.6 percent to 6.2 billion euros in the six months to June 30, while Personal Care sales were up 7.3 percent to 6.9 billion euros compared with the corresponding period last year.

Unilever’s net profit for the half year rose 20.7 percent to 3.9 billion euros, bolstered partly by disposals.

In his debut quarterly results statement, Unilever’s new chief executive officer Hein Schumacher said the company’s first-half performance highlighted the qualities that first attracted him to the business, “an unmatched global footprint, a portfolio of great brands and a team of talented people.”

Unilever’s global HQ in London

Schumacher said his early immersion in the business has confirmed his belief in Unilever’s “strong fundamentals. The task ahead is to leverage these core strengths – supported by our simplified operating model – to drive improved performance and competitiveness.

“This is our absolute priority and it will mean bringing greater focus and sharper execution, with science-backed innovations and investment behind our brands.”

Schumacher said he would offer more detail in October when Unilever reports its third quarter numbers.  

Unilever described the first half macro environment as “volatile and high-cost,” and said it expected underlying sales growth for the full year to be above 5 percent, ahead of its multi-year range. Underlying price growth will continue to moderate through the year as cost inflation falls.

Unilever said its expectation for net material inflation for 2023 is around 2 billion euros, of which 0.4 billion euros is anticipated in the second half.

Paula’s Choice Liquid Exfoliant

The company noted that the prestige beauty and health and wellbeing brands delivered further volume-led, double-digit growth in the first six months.

In prestige, Paula’s Choice, Dermalogica and Hourglass delivered “strong” growth supported by new, research-backed product launches such as Dermalogica’s phyto nature oxygen cream.

In health and wellbeing, Unilever said that Liquid I.V. continued to perform well. The company said it launched three sugar-free variants of its hydration technology “without compromise on flavor or function.”

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