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Avon Sales Rep Exodus Continues, Sales Fall Sharply in U.S.

Avon Products Makeup


Avon Products (AVP) lost more active representatives in the fourth quarter and recorded sharp sales declines in the U.S. and several of its emerging markets on Thursday.

While it remained optimistic about strides being taken toward its financial goals, it warned hat much more work still needs to be done toward becoming a more "stable business." 

The New York-based beauty products retailer, which relies on active reps to directly sell its products to consumers, more than halved its loss to $68 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $162 million, or 37 cents.

Excluding one-time impairment charges, Avon said it earned 34 cents, topping average analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters poll by four pennies. Revenue fell 10% to $2.63 billion on an 11% decline in beauty sales, missing the Street’s view of $2.75 billion.

Shares of Avon were down about 0.46% to $14.99 in recent trade, declining some 28% over the last 12 months.

Avon had been hoping sales in fast-growing emerging markets would help stem losses in its home market, however sales in Turkey and South Africa fell 9% and 12%, respectively, while Mexico's slid 15%.

In North America, they tumbled 25% to $370.8 million on a 17% decline in sales reps. 

"We made progress addressing tough legacy issues, identifying and beginning to resolve operational challenges, and rebuilding our management team,” Avon CEO Sheri McCoy said in a statement.

While McCoy said she is pleased with the headway Avon made toward its financial goals, she said “much work" still needs to be done toward becoming a “simpler and more stable business.”

Follow Jennifer Booton on Twitter at @Jbooton