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Unilever can't counter tough times

Unilever can't counter tough times

Patchy global growth as well as other country-specific issues have failed to dampen Unilever (ULVR) chief executive Paul Polman's spirits. The group, which manufactures Dove soap and Hellmann's mayonnaise among other products, managed underlying sales growth of 3.7 per cent last year, outpacing the wider market, with price rises accounting for the bulk of the increase. This suggests UK price rises - a decision described as "the right one" despite a public spat with supermarket Tesco (TSCO) - have happened elsewhere, too. Total sales, which include recent acquisitions, rose 4.3 per cent on a constant-currency basis but turnover at current rates dropped 1 per cent to €52.7bn (£44.75), largely the result of a 5.1 per cent currency hit.

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