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NEW DELHI : Indian markets are reporting weakness in consumption due to impact of inflation that is especially hurting demand in India villages, Unilever Plc’s chief executive officer Alan Jope said on Thursday. Despite this Indian markets continue to grow in value even as volumes are declining. 

The company is, however, making “significant investments" in its supply chain networks in India—among its priority markets.

The maker of Dove soaps and Vim detergent bar reported quarterly earnings on Thursday. The company’s sales volumes declined 1.6% during the third quarter, it said. Turnover increased 17.8% year-on-year. The company raised its full-year sales forecast. Meanwhile, commenting on India the company said market performance remained broad-based despite a challenging demand environment. 

Last week, the company’s local arm Hindustan Unilever Ltd., reported a 4% jump in domestic volumes; profit was up 20% year-on-year, the company announced. HUL said its growth was “significantly" ahead of the market with more than 75% of the company’s business winning value and volume market shares. “The Indian markets are growing in value, but market volumes are declining. This consumption weakness is due to the impact of inflation on the Indian consumers, particularly those in rural areas. We are confident of HUL’s ability to continue to grow ahead of the market and we see that reflected in very strong market share performance," Jope said during an investors call.

Meanwhile, commenting on future investments, the company highlighted its investment in digital—be in supply chain, marketing or in its relationship with customers and platforms. 

This digital investment is enabling us to better understand consumer needs to better serve customers and to run an efficient supply chain, Graeme Pitkethly, the chief financial officer said. “We are making significant investments in our supply chain networks in our priority markets with India and US network resets and a new multi- category site in China underway. And we’re also investing to increase capacity for premium ice cream in Europe and in North America," Pitkethly added.

 

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