Breaking News

Unilever To Cut SKUs and People

December 5, 2013

Will reduce lineup by 30% and cut 2,000 jobs in the new year.

A couple of weeks ago, Unilever CEO Paul Polman warned that gains in emerging markets—his company's bread and butter—were disappearing. Now, he's taking drastic measures ahead of the slowdown. The company will cut the number of individual products it sells by 30% by the end of 2014 to become more efficient and navigate a global economic slowdown it admits it was slow to confront.At the same time, it is cutting about 2,000 jobs and will continue to adjust its portfolio.

"The global economy has calibrated down about 1-1.5% and we probably should've done a better job seeing it coming," said Polman in a presentation in London that was broadcast over the internet.

"We're using that opportunity to step up the performance and drive new energy into the organization."

In October, Unilever posted slower sales growth for the third quarter after demand was hurt by the devaluation of some emerging market currencies and aggressive promotions in the US by rival Procter & Gamble Co.

"We lost our competitiveness," Polman said.

Unilever intends to save 500 million euros ($683 million) next year, after cutting about 2,000 jobs this year, improving its supply chain and making various processes more efficient.

Unilever is shifting more of its focus to its larger brands, including the 15 that each generate over 1 billion euros in annual revenue. Polman said it will continue to sell non-core, underperforming brands and buy attractive bolt-on brands when possible.

"The overall portfolio is perhaps not as robust yet as some of our competitors, but you have to deal with the deck of cards you've been given," Polman said.

Chief Financial Officer Jean-Marc Huet said most brands to be sold will be from Unilever's food business, which includes Knorr soups and Hellmann's mayonnaise, rather than the personal care side, which makes Radox soaps, Lux shampoo and Vaseline.

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    Cosmetic Chemists Head to Orlando Next Month

    September 26, 2016
    Organizing Chair Guy Padulo explains why you should attend the IFSCC Congress.

  • Active Agents

    Active Agents

    September 19, 2016
    On the surface, surfactants may seem staid, but the market, and the supplier activity driving it, is bubbling.

  • Expanding Erbaviva

    Expanding Erbaviva

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 13, 2016
    A farm-to-bottle organic brand celebrates its 20th anniversary with a new look, new products and plans to expand in the US.

  • Back to School

    Back to School

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||September 1, 2016
    It may be September, but class was in session this summer during the Private Label Manufacturers Association’s Executive Educ

  • What

    What's In Your Formula?

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||September 1, 2016
    A look at the ingredients beauty brands are using to fuel their formulations and capture consumers’ attention.

  • A Sweet-Smelling Sanctuary

    A Sweet-Smelling Sanctuary

    Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor||September 1, 2016
    Home fragrance is enhanced by aromatic developments in delivery and components.