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Marmite maker Unilever hikes prices amid ‘elevated’ cost inflation

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Consumer goods giant Unilever has reported a rise in sales for the past quarter as it was boosted by price hikes.

However, the Marmite and Ben & Jerry’s manufacturer also warned it has seen “strongly elevated” levels of cost inflation and expects this to continue into next year.

Alan Jope, chief executive officer of the company, nevertheless held firm on the group’s profit guidance despite rising costs.

He added: “We have and will continue to respond across our categories and markets, taking appropriate pricing action and implementing a range of productivity measures to offset increased costs.

“We continue to expect that we will deliver in line with our margin guidance of around flat for the full year.”

It came as the company, which also makes brands including Dove soap and PG Tips, reported a 2.5% increase in underlying sales for the third quarter of 2021 as it was boosted by “good growth” in the US, China and India.

Unilever said its sales volumes were 1.5% lower for the three-month period but saw growth on the back of a 4.1% increase in pricing.

It said it has taken action on pricing to offset the impact of more expensive commodities, as well as other cost rises such as logistics.

Graeme Pitkethly, chief finance officer of the group, said the business has seen “logistics challenges” in Europe.

“In the UK and Ireland we have had many challenges to manage and there has been a lot of work in planning,” he said.

“We’ve have had to work hard with logistics to ensure supply and on-shelf availability of products, where we have seen improvement.”

He said freight costs in the UK and elsewhere in Europe have also been on the rise.

Unilever said its UK operating saw “low single-digit” decline against strong figures for the same period last year.

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