Unilever set to beat sales target

Unilever shares were given a lift today after the consumer products giant reported better-than-expected sales growth in its third quarter.

The firm, which produces a wide range of products, said price rises in the wake of “unprecedented” cost pressures drove the 8.3% increase, although it added that volumes were also holding up well after a 0.6% gain in the three months to September 30.

With underlying sales 7.4% higher for the first nine months of the year, Unilever said it expected to deliver revenues growth “well in excess” of its long-term target range of 3% to 5%. Shares opened 4% higher as a result.

Unilever described North America and Western Europe as its most challenging markets, with volumes down 2% across Europe as a whole. Price rises meant underlying sales growth for the region was 2.5% in the third quarter.

Sales in the UK, Netherlands and Italy have grown “solidly”, Unilever said, while revenues were lower in France and slowed in Germany.

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