Flat sales reflect unprecedented impact of Covid-19
Unilever has 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%.
“Covid-19 is having an unprecedented impact on people and economies worldwide. Demand patterns are changing. As the crisis hits countries around the world, we see upswings in sales of hygiene and in-home food products, combined with some household stocking, and near cessation of out of home consumption which is particularly affecting our food service and ice cream business.
Developed markets grew 2.8% whilst emerging markets declined 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 food service and ice cream. E-commerce grew as shoppers moved from offline to online channels. Foods & Refreshment underlying sales declined 1.7%, with volumes down 1.8% and positive pricing of 0.1%”, reveals CEO Alan Jope.