Unilever focuses on growth acceleration, prestige beauty is strong

Consumer goods giant Unilever reported slightly lower-than-expected underlying sales growth (USG) for Q2 on Thursday, with sales up 3.5% to €13.7 billion. For the first half, underlying sales rose 3.3% to €26.1 billion and the company said that  “accelerating growth remains [its] top priority.”


Dermalogica


It added that it’s continuing to evolve its portfolio and is seeking out “fast growth channel and geographical opportunities, as well as address[ing] those performance hotspots where growth is falling short of our aspirations.”

That strategy has seen it making a raft beauty acquisitions in recent periods. Its Beauty & Personal Care unit remains one of its largest business divisions and sales there tracked those of the group as a whole, rising 3.5% in Q2 to €5.5 billion and 3.3% in H1 to €10.7 billion. That 3.3% growth divided down as 1.7% from volume and 1.6% from price.

Its acquisition strategy is clearly paying off with its prestige brands, including Dermalogica, Hourglass, and REN, seeing double-digit growth overall. It also announced the acquisitions of Garancia and Tatcha, which haven’t yet been included in USG.

The company said that deodorants performed well, supported by its Rexona Clinical and Dove Zero aluminium ranges, alongside the extension of Love, Beauty & Planet. 

New formats continued to drive its sales in skin cleansing, including the incremental launch of Dove bath bombs as well as that brand’s  foaming handwash. 

In skincare, it reported a “good performance”, helped by “on-trend innovations” including Pond's Instabright glow cream. 

But haircare saw “only modest growth for the first half, with a challenging second quarter, particularly in the US.”

Underlying operating margin in Beauty & Personal Care increased by 100bps, driven by efficiency programmes in brand and marketing investment.

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