On Thursday, consumer goods major Unilever said that it has witnessed better than expected sales for the first quarter. The company said that sales increased 2.8% during the quarter.
On an average, analysts were expecting a gain of 2.1%. In January, the Anglo-Dutch maker of Dove soap, Lipton tea and Ben & Jerry's ice cream predicted the gain to be between 2 and 4% in 2015. It forecasted the first quarter sales to be at the low end of the range.
Chief Financial Officer Jean-Marc Huet said that it is a good start. One of the main reasons is considered to be improved performance in China. “China has performed better than expected, and food has done better, some of that due to Easter coming earlier this year”, said Huet.
In order to boost demand in Europe, Unilever is introducing new products like the Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Core range and smaller sized ice creams. Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman is facing a tough time, as he has witnessed a shift from a boon to burden. Not only this, he is also facing reduced consumer spending in many nations, from China to Brazil.
In Amsterdam trading, Unilever rose by 3% touching 42.12 Euros. Huet said that owing to an inventory backlog, they have witnessed a 20% decline in sales in China in third and fourth quarters of 2014. But in the first quarter, the revenue in the region has been reported to be stable.
However, things are not stable in Brazil, which is responsible for around 10% of the company’s sales. It is under pressure. During Easter, the company witnessed profit, as the company’s sales increased by as much as 0.4% point.