Estee Lauder 2Q Grows on Strong Holiday Performance

By Retail FOXBusiness

Estee Lauder (EL) reported a 15% increase in second-quarter profit that matched expectations on sales during the key holiday season that were stronger than expected.

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The company reiterated plans to “grow faster than the global prestige beauty industry,” but warned of a softening in global beauty, particularly in Europe, Japan and Australia.

Estee Lauder lifted its forecasted sales growth rate to between 9% and 10%, with earnings, excluding items, of $2.16 to $2.23 a share. But Wall Street is looking for a stronger profit of $2.26 a share on sales of $9.67 billion.

Investors sent Estee Lauder shares down more than 4% to $56.37 Friday morning.

The makeup and skin care products maker said it earned $369.7 million, or $1 a share in the second quarter, compared with a year-earlier $343.9 million, or 86 cents.

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Excluding one-time items, the company earned $1.01 a share, matching average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll.

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Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 was $2.74 billion, up 10% from $2.49 billion a year ago, narrowly below the Street’s view of $2.75 billion.

The New York-based company attributed the growth to geographic gains in the U.S. and China, online sales, and higher demand for skin care and makeup products.

“Our sales and profits this holiday season came in higher than planned and demonstrate the vibrancy of our brand portfolio in solid as well as soft economies,” Estee Lauder CEO Fabrizio Freda said in a statement.

Launches of Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator and Idealist Cooling Eye helped boost skin care revenues 13% to $1.17 billion, while a 21% jump to $620 million in Estee Lauder’s Asia/Pacific region complimented an 8% increase in The Americas to $1.07 billion.

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