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Unilever: first-half sales down, but analysts feared worse

( - Today Unilever unveiled its first-half results, which showed that overall underlying sales slipped just 0.
1%, which was better than feared.

The maker of Magnum ice cream and Axe deodorant said volumes fell 0.3%, but prices rose by 0.2%.

Underlying sales of the home care business grew 3.2%, helped by demand for household cleaning products in times of pandemic. Cif surface cleaners and other home and hygiene brands delivered high-teens underlying sales growth, the Anglo-Dutch group said.

Underlying operating profit was 5.1 billion euros, up 3.8%, with an underlying operating margin improving by 50 basis points.

"Amidst a challenging trading environment, Unilever exceeded the highest analyst estimate on both the top and bottom line," analysts at Liberum noted.

Shares of the consumer goods giant jumped by almost 8% on Thursday morning, which helped push Amsterdam's AEX index 1% higher.

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