Today, Unilever announced its results for the first quarter of 2020, which show flat underlying sales with developed markets growing 2.8% whilst emerging markets declined 1.8%.
Underlying sales growth was 0.0% with 0.2% from volume and negative 0.2% from the price. Developed markets grew by 2.8% whilst emerging markets declined by 1.8%. China declined as a result of the downturn in food service, out of home ice cream and retail sales during the lock-down. Growth in India was impacted by both the slowing market and the lock-down implemented at the end of March, which stopped production and shipping for a number of days. Latin America grew 4.9% whilst South East Asia was mixed, following the introduction of strict restrictions in the Philippines. North America and Europe benefitted from household stocking, despite a decline in foodservice and ice cream. E-commerce grew as shoppers moved from offline to online channels.
Turnover increased by 0.2%. There was a positive impact of 0.6% from acquisitions net of disposals and a negative impact of 0.4% from currency.
Home Care underlying sales grew 2.4%, with 2.6% from volume and negative price of 0.2%. Foods & Refreshment underlying sales declined 1.7%, with volumes down 1.8% and positive pricing of 0.1%.
CEO Alan Jope said, “Covid-19 is having an unprecedented impact on people and economies worldwide. Unilever has moved at speed to support our multiple stakeholders and maintain our operations through the crisis, and prepare for growth in a new normal. We have structured our immediate response into five areas: supporting our people; protecting supply; serving demand; contributing to society, and maintaining our financial strength.
Our portfolio, our financial stability, and the quality of our leadership teams around the world mean that Unilever is well-positioned during this crisis and for the changing world that will come afterward. The fundamental drivers of growth continue to be the key principles driving our execution as we remain focused on delivering superior long-term financial performance through our sustainable business model.”
On 1 April 2020, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Unilever’s listed subsidiary in India, successfully completed the merger with GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited. The transaction is in line with Unilever’s strategy to evolve the Foods & Refreshment portfolio into higher-growth segments. In early April we also entered into agreements to buy out the minority shareholders of our subsidiary in Malaysia.