Unilever Indonesia has recorded a growth of 1.5% in net sales during this year’s first half, with recorded net sales of IDR21.77 trillion. Its total positive growth of 2.4% in domestic retail sales is said to be driven by categories of products that are urgently needed in this pandemic, such as health hygiene and food beverage products.
In the first semester of 2020, Unilever Indonesia also recorded IDR3.62 trillion in net profit. The result was achieved by “optimising steps in several aspects which included listening and responding to consumer needs through innovations that were executed with agility to drive sales and also tighten operational costs”. On the other hand, Unilever faced challenges with the addition of various operational costs for supply chain resilience and health and safety costs such as for supplements, masks, COVID-19 tests, during this pandemic. Additionally, due to the lock-downs which were imposed in Indonesia as COVID-19 spread, even though the growth was positive over the half year, sales declined in the second quarter.
Hemant Bakshi, president director of Unilever Indonesia said the company focused on the health of its people in these unprecedented times, serving the emerging needs of its consumers and customers and supporting the community. He added that the company launched a number of innovations that were relevant to address the consumers' needs during the pandemic, including Lifebuoy hand sanitizer, Sahaja hygienic spray, Wipol disinfectant spray, and Wipol surface disinfecting wipes. “In addition, the Company has also continued to innovate in other categories such as ice cream for home consumption by re-introducing Vienetta and launching several new variants such as Walls Strawberry Cheesecake, and in the Personal Care category by launching Vaseline Anti-Bacterial Hand Cream”, Bakshi added.
"This is a time that is not easy to pass for any of us, but the company has been and will continue to be with Indonesia to overcome the various challenges. The company is optimistic that if all parties take their roles seriously, together we will get through this difficult time and the Indonesian economy will rise again," Hemant explained.
Meanwhile, growth in India and the Philippines declined as strict lock-downs were imposed from March, disrupting the flow of goods and negatively impacting consumption of discretionary personal care categories as consumers stayed at home more. Thailand was negatively impacted by reduced tourism as well. Amidst the lockdown, Unilever's Indian unit Hindustan Unilever (HUL) recently renamed its Fair & Lovely brand to "Glow & Lovely", with the men's range of Fair & Lovely also renamed to be called "Glow & Handsome". This came a week after it said it was dropping the word “fair” from its "Fair & Lovely" products, after garnering heat for playing up insecurities in skin tones and promoting negative stereotypes against darker skinned women.
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