Estée Lauder Sales Jump 9%, Approaching $15 Billion

The Estée Lauder Cos. reported a 9 percent net sales jump for the fiscal year, to $14.86 billion in sales.
Skin care was a real star of the show, with sales jumping 17 percent to $6.55 billion. Makeup followed, with a 4 percent sales gain, to $5.86 billion. Fragrance declined 1 percent, to $1.8 billion, and hair care gained 2 percent, to $584 million.
Regionally, Asia Pacific was the growth driver, jumping 21 percent to $3.67 billion in sales. That region, while the fastest-growing, is still Lauder's smallest. Europe, the Middle East and Africa gained 15 percent, to $6.4 billion, and the Americas dipped 5 percent to $4.7 billion, for the year. Lauder said that decline reflected challenges in brick and mortar stores.
Net earnings for the fiscal year rose 61 percent, to $1.79 billion.
"We achieved strong net sales gains across our business, fueled by investments in our strategic priorities, including improved data analytics that helped power our innovation and digital marketing," said Fabrizio Freda, president and chief executive officer for Lauder. "With savings from our Leading Beauty Forward initiative and cost discipline throughout the organization, we grew profit far ahead of our net sales growth, while also investing in our strategic priorities."
Lauder's gains have been fueled by "many engines," Freda noted, including Asia/Pacific and other emerging markets, skin care, travel retail and online. Going forward, Lauder plans to "Invest in the most compelling opportunities, including those in emerging markets beyond China," Freda said.
For the fourth quarter, Lauder's net sales increased 9 percent to $3.59 billion, driven by China, travel retail and online. The company said net sales in the U.S. improved, "despite a tough retail environment."
Lauder is forecasting net sales growth between 9 and 10 percent for fiscal 2020.
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