PARIS — Unilever reported first-quarter sales this year declined 2 percent in a challenging marketplace.
The Anglo-Dutch consumer-products giant, parent of brands ranging from Dove soap and Pond’s skin cream to Hellmann’s mayonnaise, registered revenues of 12.55 billion euros, or $12.63 billion, in the three months ended March 31.
A negative currency impact dampened sales by 7.1 percent, while organic revenue grew by 4.7 percent, in line with financial analysts’ consensus. Underlying sales in emerging markets advanced 8.3 percent.
“This first quarter demonstrates a strong volume-driven performance, following on from a good delivery in 2015,” said Paul Polman, Unilever chief executive officer. “We are maintaining momentum despite a tougher external environment, with all four categories gaining market share.”
In the quarter, Unilever’s personal-care division registered a sales gain of 0.1 percent to 4.795 billion euros, or $4.83 billion, bolstered by innovations that extended into the more premium segments. The company highlighted the launch of the new Axe range, tapping into the higher-growth male grooming segment.
Unilever said deodorants continued performing strongly, that TRESemmé launched the Beauty-Full line with a reverse conditioning system and Lefebuoy registered strong volume-driven growth in Unilever’s emerging markets.
Dollar figures are calculated at average exchange rates for the period in question.