UPDATE 2-Price rises help Unilever top sales forecasts but spark Tesco row

jueves 13 de octubre de 2016 03:34 GYT

(Adds survey on falling confidence among British food makers)

By Martinne Geller

LONDON Oct 13 (Reuters) - Price increases at Unilever , which have sparked a row with British supermarket Tesco, helped the maker of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove soap report a smaller-than-expected slowdown in third-quarter sales on Thursday.

Unilever said it was on track to meet its full-year targets, but the results were overshadowed by the dispute with Tesco which has pulled dozens of the company's brands from its website, including popular products such as Marmite and PG Tips tea bags.

In Britain, one of the home markets for Anglo-Dutch Unilever, it is grappling with the fallout of the vote to quit the European Union, which caused a steep drop in the pound.

Unilever has been trying to raise the prices it charges Britain's big four supermarkets - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons - across a wide range of goods by about 10 percent, saying it needs to offset the higher cost of imported commodities, two people with knowledge of the situation told Reuters on Wednesday.

Chief Financial Officer Graeme Pitkethly told Reuters that devaluation-led price increases were normal, but declined to comment specifically on the row with Tesco.

A survey published on Wednesday said more than two-thirds of British food makers have become less confident about the business environment since the Brexit vote.

Three-quarters of British food manufacturers have seen an increase in the price of imported ingredients due to the fall in the value of the pound since the vote, and 63 percent reported a decrease in profit margin, according to the poll by Britain's Food and Drink Federation (FDF) between Sept. 16 and Oct. 7.   Continuación...