Unilever hits shoppers with big price hikes


Unilever hits shoppers with big price hikes as it pushes up the cost of everyday items from Hellmann’s mayonnaise to Dove soap

Unilever has hit shoppers with its biggest ever price hikes as it pushes up the cost of everyday items from Hellmann’s mayonnaise to Dove soap. 

In a painful blow to millions of families, the consumer goods giant put prices up 12.5 per cent in the three months to the end of September. 

The move underlined the scale of inflation coursing through the economy, hitting households and businesses alike. Inflation in the UK is running at a 40-year high of 10.1 per cent – prompting a series of interest rate rises by the Bank of England that have driven up mortgage costs. 

Unilever, whose brands also include Marmite, Ben & Jerry’s, Persil and Domestos, is facing soaring business costs including energy bills, transport and wages. 

It expects the rising cost of doing business to be £4billion this year. And in a sign there is more misery to come for shoppers, it expects inflationary pressures to continue and is bracing for a further £1.7billion hit in the first half of 2023. 

But there it appears that shoppers are looking for cheaper alternatives as Unilever hikes up prices. The volume of goods sold by Unilever fell 1.6 per cent in the third quarter.

Finance boss Graeme Pitkethly said soaring food and energy bills are causing consumers to cut back on non-essential items. Unilever shares slid 0.1 per cent, or 4p, to 3865p.  

But despite shoppers cutting back, Unilever’s price increases helped overall sales jump 10.6 per cent to £13.7billion, the fastest growth it has seen in a decade. 

Unilever is just the latest consumer goods business to unveil bumper price increases. On Wednesday, Reckitt Benckiser, whose brands include Durex and Nurofen, said it had pushed up its own prices by around 10 per cent.

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