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Heatwave is just what Gloucester's ice cream factory bosses needed after slump in sales

The current heatwave will be just what the doctor ordered for bosses at Gloucester's Unilever base after poor spring weather led to a slight decline in sales in ice cream.

In their half year results released today, the Anglo-Dutch domestic product giant reported underlying sales growth across all products of 3.3 per cent.

The biggest area of growth, however, was in the company's emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East and Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.

In a report released with the update, Unilever said: "Growth in our markets was mixed. Market growth in Europe and North America was held back by the impact of weather on ice cream sales. "

Overall, ice cream sales grew slightly over the 26 weeks, although the company admits that was due to performance in the emerging markets where Magnum White Chocolate and Cookies were introduced.

Unilever make a wide array of products other than the ice cream it creates at their Barnwood base.

They have around a dozen products that create sales of more than one billion euros, including the Magnum ice cream brand.

Others with the strongest sales are Lynx and Sure deodorant, Surf washing powder, Dover soap and Hellmann's mayonnaise.

The overall turnover for the company for the six months was €26.1billion an increase of 0.9 per cent on the same period last year.

Unilever CEO Alan Jope said: "We have delivered consistent growth within our guided range for 2019, led by our emerging markets.

"Accelerating growth remains our top priority and we continue to evolve our portfolio and seek out fast growth channel and geographical opportunities, as well as address those performance hotspots where growth is falling short of our aspirations.

"For the full year, we continue to expect underlying sales growth to be in the lower half of our multi-year 3-5% range, an improvement in underlying operating margin that keeps us on track for the 2020 target and another year of strong free cash flow.

"Our sustainable business model and portfolio of purpose-led brands are key to delivering superior long-term financial performance."

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