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Hair’s to a good year for Unilever

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 23-Jan-2013

Thanks to a strong fourth quarter in the hair care segment, Unilever signed off a good year of growth in Personal Care, as well as its other consumer categories, with the announcement of its full year results.

The Anglo-Dutch consumer giant posted underlying sales growth of 7.8 per cent with volume growth of 4.8 per cent in the fourth quarter; whilst turnover for the full year increased by 10.5 per cent to €51.3 billion.

Hair we go…

In Personal Care, it was Hair that finished the year with a strong quarter of double-digit growth, and really helped boost the Group’s results.

The Tresemmé brand had a solid quarter, reflecting strength in Brazil and the impact of the recent launches in Indonesia and India.

Always a steady performer for Unilever, Dove Hair benefited from the continuing success of Dove Damage Therapy, whilst Clear also grew strongly, completing a good first year in the highly competitive US market.

Elsewhere, Sunsilk became a €1 billion brand driven by the growth of the core business coupled with the success of recent innovations such as the natural oils range.

Skin care

Over in Skin Care, Dove dominated once more in the body wash, cleansing and men’s toiletries categories; with the latter being particularly boosted by the growing male face care market in the UK.

Lifebuoy had another strong quarter reflecting good progress on the core products, and was boosted by new launches in Indonesia and India.

It is also worth mentioning that the acquired Kalina brands continued to make good progress in Russia.

In the face of adversity

Unilever feels that in some tough conditions, it delivered another quarter of solid growth, as all categories grew.

Emerging markets underlying sales growth was 10.8 per cent in the quarter, evenly split between volume and price, taking the full year underlying sales growth to 11.4 per cent. The developed markets grew 4.0 per cent in the fourth quarter and were up 1.6 per cent in the full year.

“Throughout 2012 our markets experienced markedly different dynamics as emerging markets grew in both volume and value terms whilst developed market value remained subdued, with volumes lower than prior year,” says a company statement.

Commenting on the results, CEO Paul Polman adds: “These results have been achieved in tough economic conditions, with volatile commodity costs and in an intensely competitive environment.”

“They reflect the progress made in delivering bigger, better innovations and rolling them out faster, improving our execution in the market place and increased discipline driving savings in all areas of the business.”

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