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UNILEVER SAYS SALES UP OF 'LEADING' BRANDS

Announcement Comes Ahead of Scheduled Quarterly Report

By Published on .

CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Unilever said today it expects sales of its 400 so-called leading brands grew 5.4% in the fourth quarter of 2002 on the strength of increased marketing support behind second-half marketing initiatives.

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Growth of the 400 brands, which are those Unilever intends to keep and support, was ahead of the 4.5% to 5% growth Unilever projected in a Dec. 18 financial update.

Unilever also said it expects earnings per share growth increased 20%. The company, which markets Dove personal care products, Lipton Tea and Slimfast weight loss products, isn't scheduled to report 2002 results until Feb. 13, but issued a preview ahead of scheduled quarterly reports of rivals, such as Procter & Gamble Co., set for Jan. 28.

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