BERLIN — The Douglas perfumeries continued to grow domestically and internationally for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, with sales increasing 8 percent to 1.68 billion euros, or $2.24 billion at average exchange, according to a preliminary financial report released by the retailer this week.

On a comparable-store basis, perfumery sales grew 3.6 percent. In Germany, the retailer's 441 doors grew sales by 5 percent to 880.8 million euros, or $1.17 billion. This includes sales from seven newly opened Douglas doors as well as the turnover from 11 Hela perfumeries in southern Germany that were acquired in May.

Outside Germany, where Douglas now generates almost half of its business in 21 countries, sales rose 11.4 percent to 802.1 million euros, or $1.07 billion. On a same-store basis, sales grew 5.6 percent.

Douglas opened 49 perfumeries during the fiscal year, primarily in Italy, Spain and Eastern Europe. The retailer also is strengthening its presence in the Baltic states, and, as of Aug. 15, it took a 51 percent stake in Baltic Cosmetic Holding, which operates more than 70 perfumeries in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. In late June, Douglas took over the remaining 50 percent in the Russian company Douglas Rivoli.

Douglas Group sales, which include book, jewelry, fashion and confectionery retail operations, rose 12 percent, or 2.3 percent on a same-sales basis, to 2.03 billion euros, or $2.7 billion.

The Hagen, Germany-based group said it now expects to meet its group profit targets of between 139 million euros and 142 million euros, or $185 million and $180 million. Final sales and profit figures will be released at Douglas' annual financial conference on Jan. 17.

— Melissa Drier

Estée Lauder Takes Darphin In-house

The Estée Lauder Cos. has brought in-house the operations of its Darphin business in Italy.

Darphin, which was acquired by Lauder in 2003, was formerly distributed in Italy by Armonia Beauté.

Orna Nofarber, managing director of Estée Lauder Italy, said Darphin, the French skin care, hair care and makeup line, was officially brought under the direct control of Lauder in July.Darphin's distribution network in Italy comprises 500 high-end pharmacies, but Estée Lauder Italy said it plans to build on that number next year. Nofarber said the brand has growth potential, in line with strength in Italy's pharmacy channel. According to data from Unipro, the Italian firm that monitors beauty sales, cosmetics sales in Italy's pharmacy channel grew by 6 percent in 2006.

Meanwhile, Aerin Lauder, who was preceded by a kilt-clad piper, took a trip down memory lane during a personal appearance at Harrods in London Wednesday.

"My grandmother always loved England, she had a passion for it," she said of Estée Lauder. "I remember coming here with her and walking through Harrods."

Lauder was in town to promote the Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia fragrance, for which she stars in advertising. The Harrods event was particularly significant since the storied department store was the brand's first international account.

"We've had an amazing relationship with Estée Lauder at Harrods for over 40 years," said Harrods fashion and beauty director Marigay McKee.

Die-hard Lauder fans queued to have bottles of scent signed and to snap its spokeswoman with digital cameras.

— Brid Costello and Stephanie Epiro

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