Estee Lauder tops estimates on China demand, online boost

In coronavirus era, Estee Lauder sees growth in demand for its skincare products

Estee Lauder Cos Inc beat analysts' estimates for quarterly results on Monday, benefiting from strong Chinese demand and a surge in online orders for its skincare products, sending its shares about 4% higher in premarket trading.

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ELESTEE LAUDER
$245.94
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The MAC brand owner has ramped up investments in its online business and seen growth in demand for its skincare products as customers confined to their homes opted for serums and moisturizers instead of traditional make-up items.

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Estee also got a boost from China’s move to raise the annual tax-free shopping limit for tourists in the Hainan province, as well as its collaborations with Asian celebrities, including K-pop star Lalisa Manobal.

Sales in the company’s Asia-Pacific market increased 9% to $1.15 billion in the first quarter.

Still, overall travel retail sales were mostly flat due to restrictions on international travel and as consumers avoided flying due to health concerns.

Total net sales fell 9% to $3.56 billion, but were ahead of expectations of $3.46 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

The company forecast net sales to decline between 3% and 5% in the second quarter, the midpoint of which was smaller than analysts’ estimates of a near 5% decline, Refinitiv data showed.

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New York-based Estee also said it expects adjusted profit per share in the current quarter to be between $1.45 and $1.60, below expectations of $1.73 per share, as it invests in its online business and Asia-Pacific units.

Excluding one-time items, the company reported a profit of $1.44 per share for the three months ended Sept. 30, easily beating estimates of 90 cents.

The company increased its quarterly dividend by 10% for its Class A and Class B common stock to 53 cents per share.

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