Unilever sales down 2.7% to €48.4 billion
Excluding the effect of acquisitions and unfavourable exchange rates, underlying sales rose 2.9%, Despite the weaker-than-expected sales, Unilever reported a 7% rise in pre-tax profit to €7.6bn for the full year.
Unilever chief executive Paul Polman said it had been a "challenging year for our industry", and warned he did not expect a "significant improvement" in market conditions in 2015.
"We expect our full-year performance to be similar to 2014 with the first quarter being softer but growth improving during the year".
Unilever said underlying sales growth in emerging markets, where it makes more than half its sales, slowed to 5.7%. The company has been hit hard by a combination of slowing growth in China, a recession in Brazil as well as western sanctions on Russia. ■