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Today's business and finance round up 22nd October 2021

đź‘›Unilever passes on inflation pressure to consumers

22nd October 2021

Good morning It looks like Facebook is taking a leaf from Kanye (or rather Ye) West's book and considering a name change. Current odds have Virtuel and Connect as the top contenders with Myface and Zuckers longer shots.

Today's stories

  • Unilever passes on inflation pressure to consumers

  • Shapewear pioneer’s $1bn buyout

CONSUMERUnilever passes on inflation pressure to consumers

What’s going on?Consumer goods giant Unilever lifted prices by over 4% in the past three months as it passed on the rising cost of raw materials to customers.

Why is this important?

Unilever is one of the biggest consumer goods companies in the world. It owns a suite of brands including Marmite, Dove and Cornetto. In the three months to September it increased the price of its products by 4.1% - the biggest rise since 2012 - to offset the huge rise in its input costs. The volume of goods sold fell by 1.5% but the price rise was enough to increase revenue by 2.5% to €13.5bn.The company also warned that more price rises would be on the way.Manufacturers like Unilever are facing cost pressures from all angles. The prices of ingredients like oil, packaging, energy and transportation have all risen significantly in the past year.The growing concerns about the cost of living is becoming almost a daily feature in this newsletter. Although official data published earlier in the week showed inflation dipped slightly in September to 3.1%, the Bank of England expects this while reach 4% by the end of 2021 due to rising energy costs. TakeawayUnilever's ability to pass on cost increases to customers should position it well for a world of rising costs.That’s bad news for the millions of consumers that use its products. But good news for investors looking to protect their portfolios in an inflationary environment with a company that has pricing power. 

RETAILShapewear pioneer’s $1bn buyout

US private equity giant Blackstone, has bought a majority stake in Spanx, valuing the maker of stretchy, compressive lingerie known as “shapewear” at $1.2bn.Spanx was founded in 2000 and helped pioneer today’s shapewear industry. Founder and CEO Sara Blakely is a regular feature on the Forbes magazine rich list and was once named the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire.Spanx famously didn't advertise for its first 16 years in business, relying only on celebrity endorsements and word-of-mouth. Since then other shapewear brands have emerged including Kim Kardashian’s Skims, which earned a reported $145m last year and was valued at $1.6bn after its last funding round.Blackstone’s interest in Spanx comes from the growing opportunity in the sector. Sales of women’s underwear, including shapewear, hit $10bn in 2020. The investment will allow Spanx to further expand globally and will help it to strengthen its online business.

Stat of the day

Daily meat consumption in the UK has fallen by 17% in the last decade

Other stories to keep you in the loop

  • UK public borrowing falls by more than expected

  • UK strikes trade deal with New Zealand – but it may add nothing to GDP

  • Plan that suggested meat tax to help people go vegan swiftly deleted

  • Vodafone creates 7,000 new jobs across Europe and Africa

  • Tesla reports record sales and profits

  • Twitter buys app from British entrepreneur who sold his first start-up to Yahoo at 17

Interesting links from around the web

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