THE HAGUE -- Food and cosmetics giant Unilever (IW 1000/59), seen as a bellwether for global consumer spending, said on Thursday that its third-quarter sales had been hit by weakened demand in emerging markets.
Sales fell 6.5% to 12.5 billion euros (US$17.3 billion) compared to the outcome in the same period last year.
This included a negative currency impact of 8.5%.
Underlying sales were up 3.2%, compared to a 5.9% increase a year earlier.
Growth in emerging markets was up 5.9%, compared to 12.1% in 3Q 2012.
Unilever warned earlier this month of weakening growth in emerging markets, accelerated by currency weakening.
Nevertheless, "emerging markets continue to be the main driver of our growth and, despite the current slowdown, they remain a significant growth opportunity which the company is well-placed to capitalize on," said CEO Paul Polman.
Emerging markets contribute to more than half of Unilever's sales, as the owner of Dove soaps and other common household brands shifted its attention away from crisis-hit developed markets.
Unilever, founded in 1930, employs about 173,000 people around the world.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013