Consumer goods group Unilever on Thursday announced a dip in annual net profit to 5.6 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in what it said was a volatile year.
“In a volatile and unpredictable year, we have demonstrated Unilever’s resilience and agility through the Covid-19 pandemic,” chief executive Alan Jope said as Unilever’s 2020 net profit slipped 0.8 percent from 2019.
The maker of brands including Magnum ice-cream, Cif surface cleaner and Dove soap, last year enjoyed strong demand for hand cleaners and household cleaning products in the pandemic, as well as a increased food purchases.
However sales of beauty products were hit by the coronavirus lockdowns, the group noted.
“The operating environment in our markets has been volatile since the Covid-19 pandemic began in early 2020,” the statement said.
“As people stayed at home and had fewer opportunities to socialise, they spent less time on personal grooming which impacted sales in much of the beauty and personal care business, except for hygiene products where demand was high.”
Unilever said sales growth was driven by hand and home hygiene products, laundry and in-home food and refreshments.
Ice-cream purchased outdoors declined however.
Unilever had a notable 2020 as it became a wholly British company.
At the end of November, Unilever completed the historic merger of its Dutch and British corporate entities.