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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 07:23 GMT 08:23 UK
Wet summer takes toll on Unilever
Magnum ice cream
Ice cream sales have disappointed in poor summer weather
Unilever, fresh from a shock profits warning last month, has said wet weather dampened its performance in the three months to September.

The firm said underlying sales fell 1.3% on the year as bad weather and weak consumer confidence hit demand for ice cream in its key European market.

Pre-tax profits were down 2% at 1.3bn euros (890m ; $1.6bn).

Unilever, maker of Lipton tea and Magnum ice cream, said it was "dissatisfied" with its performance.

Stop the rot

"Actions are being taken to improve the market competitiveness of our products," it said in a statement.

Measures aimed at reversing the slide in sales include increased expenditure in advertising, and price cuts on some products.

The company said it would be reviewing its targets for 2005 - 2010, and reiterated its earlier forecast that profits for the full year would grow in the "low single digits."

In September, Unilever warned that underlying earnings for the full year would grow by just 5%, down from its previous estimate of 10%.

By late morning, Unilever shares had fallen 4.75p to 444.75p in London.

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