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Unilever unveils bold ‘Action Plan’ amid challenging quarter

Unilever, the multinational consumer goods giant renowned for its iconic products like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Marmite, unveiled a comprehensive ‘Action Plan’ on Thursday in response to its latest third-quarter results. The company …

Unilever, the multinational consumer goods giant renowned for its iconic products like Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Marmite, unveiled a comprehensive ‘Action Plan’ on Thursday in response to its latest third-quarter results.

The company reported a 5.2% growth in underlying sales, fueled primarily by a 5.8% price hike while experiencing a 0.6% decline in volumes. Despite these figures, Unilever’s CEO, Hein Schumacher, remains undeterred, believing there is room for improvement.

“The numbers are what they are, but they don’t define our future. We have identified areas that need enhancement, and we are taking bold steps to revitalize Unilever’s performance,” Schumacher stated.

Charlie Huggins, Manager of the Quality Shares Portfolio at Wealth Club, expressed concerns about Unilever’s performance, particularly in Europe. Huggins remarked, “Europe was particularly weak with volumes falling by over 10%, and the percentage of Unilever’s business winning market share on a rolling 12-month-basis fell to a disappointing 38%.”

Schumacher, who recently assumed the role of CEO, acknowledged these challenges and introduced his ‘Action Plan’ as a strategic remedy. Central to his vision is a commitment to “fewer things, done better, with greater impact,” emphasising a streamlined approach that focuses on Unilever’s top 30 Power Brands. This strategy aims to instil accountability, foster a more innovative culture, and simplify the company’s operations.

“The days of being slow-moving and weighed down by mediocre brands are over,” declared Schumacher during the announcement. “We are embracing change, enhancing our innovation, and maximizing productivity to ensure sustained growth.”

Unilever’s ‘Action Plan’ also includes efforts to augment core strengths, potentially through the sale of non-essential brands. Schumacher’s plan resonates with investors and industry experts, who see this decisive move as essential for Unilever’s future success.

However, the market remains cautiously optimistic. “This Action Plan feels like it has more substance,” said Huggins. “But the proof will be in the pudding.”

Unilever shares saw a 3.1% decline in early morning trading, settling at 3,886.00 pence each.

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