Consumer goods giant Unilever cuts its annual sales outlook

Unilever has provided a trading update for the City.
Unilever has provided a trading update for the City.
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Consumer goods giant Unilever has cut its annual sales outlook after "challenges" across a raft of its global markets.

The group said sales were being hit by an economic slowdown in South Asia, which is one of its largest markets, as well as "difficult" trading in West Africa.

It also continues to see tough conditions in developed markets and, despite early signs of improved trading in North America, Unilever cautioned a full recovery there "will take time".

The firm warned this will mean 2019 sales growth is set to be slightly below the lower half of its expected 3% to 5% range.

Alan Jope, chief executive of Unilever, said: "Due to challenges in certain markets, we expect a slight miss to our full-year underlying sales growth delivery.

"Looking ahead to 2020, growth will be second-half weighted. While we expect improvement in first-half 2020 versus this quarter, we expect that first-half growth will be below 3%.

"Our full-year underlying sales growth is expected to be in the lower half of the multi-year range.

"Growth remains our top priority and we are confident we have the right strategy and investment in place to step up our performance."