Anglo-Dutch food and household goods giant Unilever is planning to increase marketing spend in a bid to halt falling sales.

New chairman Patrick Cescau, who took the reins of the company this month from Niall Fitzgerald, is also planning to cut prices and costs.

The company, which owns such brands as Dove soap, Hellman's mayonnaise and Knorr soups, as well as Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Liptons tea, reported a fall in overall sales of 1.3% in the third quarter.

Unilever says it was affected by the wet summer in northern Europe which hit ice-cream and iced-tea sales, and by fierce competition for laundry products, soaps and shampoos in Europe and Asia, mainly from arch-rival Procter and Gamble.

Adds the company: "Weak consumer confidence, the continued growth of discount retail formats puts increased emphasis on the need for brands to offer good value."

Unilever's pre-tax profit for the quarter was, at €1.31 billion ($1.6bn, £900m) 2% lower than a year before.

Data sourced from The Times Online (UK); additional content by WARC staff