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Unilever: underlying sales up 6.6 percent in first quarter; reported sales fall on euro

Unilever PLC, the maker of consumer products such as Dove soaps and Ben & Jerry's ice cream, says its underlying sales grew in the first quarter, but revenue was down due to a big impact from the stronger euro.

Around two-thirds of the company's sales come from outside the eurozone. In a trading statement Thursday, the company reported sales were down 6.3 percent to 11.4 billion euros ($15.8 billion), including a negative 8.9 percent currency impact.

Underlying figures strip out effects of currency fluctuations and the sale or purchase of businesses. Unilever said its underlying growth of 3.6 percent included a 1.9 percent volume growth and 1.6 percent increase in prices.

Unilever said growth was slow in North America, but improving in Europe. Emerging market sales grew 6.6 percent.