Unilever reported a lower-than-expected increase in second-quarter sales on Thursday, blaming a deterioration in emerging markets and flat developed markets.
The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company, whose brands include Dove soap, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Lipton tea, said underlying sales, which exclude foreign exchange, acquisitions and disposals, rose 3.8% in the quarter, compared to a 3.6% increase in the first quarter.
Analysts were expecting underlying sales growth of 4.3% for the second quarter, according to figures given by Unilever.
European sales fell 0.8% in the second quarter and Foods continued to struggle, with sales up 0.7% in the quarter despite a favourable Easter phasing impact. North American sales rose 0.4% in the second quarter, having been down in the first.
Turnover decreased by 5.5% to €24.1bn (£19.2bn) and core earnings per share (EPS) were up 2% at €0.78.
Broker Canaccord said that EPS was ahead of a consensus of €0.74, but the numbers were notable for a further weakening in volumes against expectations. Volumes were up 1.9% versus a consensus forecast of 2.4%.
Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, at Unilever, said: "We remain focused on achieving another year of profitable volume growth ahead of our markets, steady and sustainable core operating margin improvement and strong cash flow."
As the consumer backdrop improved in its markets, retail park investor Hammerson signed increased value of leases and lifted its income from tenants in the first half of the year.
Including the newly opened Les Terrasses du Port, a "shopping and leisure destination" in Marseille, group net rental income from continuing operations increased 4.6% to £146.9m, or by 1.5% on a like-for-like basis.
Chief Executive David Atkins said conditions for consumers were "improving in the UK and stabilising in France", and so Hammerson was providing the space for expanding retailers and allowing the company to grow rental values in selected locations.
The FTSE 100 group cited a strong demand for high-quality retail property, with new rents secured of £12m for 67,800 square metres of space, meaning slightly less space was leased but at a higher value compared to the same period last year.
Leases were signed at an average of 7% above estimated rental value (ERV) and 6% above previous passing rents, providing confidence in future income growth.
Atkins said: "This has been an encouraging first half in which we have successfully opened Les Terrasses du Port, signed an increased value of leases at levels above ERV and previous rents, and made operational and financial improvements to our business."
Five development schemes are in train, with construction started at new Leeds shopping arcade Victoria Gate in April, and planning approval received for major retail developments at Brent Cross, London, and Watermark WestQuay, Southampton.
"Global investors are increasingly seeking exposure to the benefits of high-quality retail assets, which has had a beneficial impact on capital values. We remain confident in our ability to deliver strong returns for shareholders," Atkins added.
In the UK, the picture for sales at its shopping centres improved during the year, with tenant sales growth of 2.5% driven by fashion sales performing strongly during the year. UK footfall reduced by 1.5%, but consumers are spending more time and money at each visit to our centres it said.