Unilever reports disappointing full-year sales

<p>Unilever has seen demand for its products in emerging markets slow over the past year.</p>

Unilever has reported disappointing sales over the past year.

The consumer goods firm stated that sales fell by 2.7 per cent to €48.4 billion (£37.1 billion), which fell below the company's expectation for the full year. Unilever, which makes a wide range of consumer products including Ben & Jerry's ice-cream and Dove soap, explained that a lower demand for its brands in emerging markets had resulted in a slowing of growth.

Emerging markets are a key demographic for Unilever. The company makes over half of its sales in these regions but 2014 had been a challenging year for these areas. Growth had slowed in China while Brazil and Russia had been hit by recession and western sanctions respectively. This meant that underlying sales growth in these regions had dropped to 5.7 per cent.

This decline had a knock-on effect with Unilever's full-year sales, which fell well short of analyst predictions of a 3.1 per cent rise. The company admitted that it had experienced tough trading conditions during the past 12 months and will endeavour to improve its performance in 2015, aiming to get back to growth.

Paul Polman, chief executive officer of Unilever, said in a statement: "Despite a challenging year for our industry with significant economic headwinds and weak markets we have delivered another year of competitive underlying sales growth and margin expansion.

"This consistency, now established over the last six years, has been achieved during a period of high volatility as we have built a more resilient company."

Unilever's latest trading update prompted a drop in the company's share price, down 2.20 per cent as of 09:41 GMT on Tuesday (January 20th). The share price has been on a decline throughout the past week culminating in the announcement of the disappointing sales figures.

Find up to date information on the FTSE 100 and spread betting strategies at City Index.

Join our live webinars for the latest analysis and trading ideas. Register now

GAIN Capital UK Limited (trading as “City Index”) is an execution-only service provider. This material, whether or not it states any opinions, is for general information purposes only and it does not take into account your personal circumstances or objectives. This material has been prepared using the thoughts and opinions of the author and these may change. However, City Index does not plan to provide further updates to any material once published and it is not under any obligation to keep this material up to date. This material is short term in nature and may only relate to facts and circumstances existing at a specific time or day. Nothing in this material is (or should be considered to be) financial, investment, legal, tax or other advice and no reliance should be placed on it.

No opinion given in this material constitutes a recommendation by City Index or the author that any particular investment, security, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. The material has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research. Although City Index is not specifically prevented from dealing before providing this material, City Index does not seek to take advantage of the material prior to its dissemination. This material is not intended for distribution to, or use by, any person in any country or jurisdiction where such distribution or use would be contrary to local law or regulation.

For further details see our full non-independent research disclaimer and quarterly summary.