Ice cream, brand extensions lift Unilever U.S. sales

by Jeff Gelski
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LONDON — Unilever’s North American food sales rose in the third quarter of 2005 thanks to growth ahead of the market in ice cream and continued good results from the extension of the Country Crock and Bertolli brands into new categories, Unilever said on Thursday.

In the Americas, underlying sales increased by 5% in the quarter, all of it coming from additional volume. Unilever strengthened the Vitality credentials of its brands in the United States with Promise heart health spread, Ragu organic and support for the antioxidant properties of Lipton teas.

Companywide, Unilever reported net profit from continuing operations of €1,474 million ($1,743 million) for the third quarter, which compared with €1,174 in the previous year’s third quarter. Operating profit in the Americas was €527 million, up from €486 million in the previous year’s third quarter.

Companywide in foods, Unilever reported operating profit of €933 million, down from €976 million. Broken down into operating profits by segments, savoury and dressings was at €297 million, down from €320 million; spreads and cooking products was at €200 million, up from €195 million; beverages was at €111 million, up from €97 million; and ice cream and frozen foods was at €325 million, down from €364 million.

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