Unilever stockpiles Magnums and Lynx as Brexit fears mount

Unilever has hired extra warehouses to stockpile Magnum ice creams and deodorants on both sides of the Channel amid growing fears a no-deal Brexit will disrupt the Anglo-Dutch company's supply chain.

It follows in the footsteps of other firms who are stockpiling ahead of Brexit.

The UK is due to leave the European Union on 29 March but concern is mounting it will exit without a deal.

Graeme Pitkethly, chief financial officer of the consumer goods giant, said: "There has been just under half a billion increase in inventory and that is really due to some specific strategic decisions that we've made to mitigate some specific factors in this topsy-turvy world". "It's weeks of inventory - not months or days".

Unilever has also been building up stocks of the materials used to make and package products in the United Kingdom, including aluminium, plastics and propellants.

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The Anglo-Dutch consumer giant joins companies ranging from auto-parts maker Robert Bosch GmbH to luxury giant LVMH, the maker of Moet & Chandon Champagne and Hennessy Cognac, that are building up United Kingdom inventories as the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looms larger.

Earlier this week, Sainsbury's, Asda and McDonald's warned that stockpiling fresh food was impossible - and that a no-deal Brexit would leave them short of stock.

In his first press conference since succeeding Paul Polman as chief executive, Jope said the company was preparing for a multitude of scenarios of which a hard Brexit was the most difficult to manage.

"We desperately hope that we don't end up in a tariff-laden environment", he said.

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