Unilever sales fall 2 percent in first quarter of 2016

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Consumer products giant Unilever, the owner of brands including Ben & Jerry's ice cream, Lipton and Dove, says its first quarter sales dropped 2 percent to 12.5 billion euros ($14 billion) from the same period last year as it was hit hard by exchange rate fluctuations and "fragile" consumer demand.

The Anglo-Dutch company said that its underlying sales growth, stripping out factors like the exchange rate changes, was 4.7 percent, thanks to a strong performance in emerging markets. Unilever did not report its first-quarter profit.

Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman said Thursday the company is "maintaining momentum despite a tougher external environment."

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