BERLIN — Sales of Douglas Perfumeries increased 3 percent in the first five months of fiscal 2004-2005, which ended Feb. 28, the Douglas Group announced at its annual shareholders meeting last week.

Aided by “good Christmas business,” the Douglas Group achieved group sales of 1.1 billion euros, or $1.4 billion at average exchange rates, a gain of 4 percent. On a same-space basis, group sales rose 1.2 percent.

Chairman Hennig Kreke said the Group plans sales growth of 4 to 6 percent for the coming year, based on its existing portfolio. Profits from ordinary business activities are expected to hit 114 million to 116 million euros, or $152 million to $155 million at current exchange rates, up from 110 million euros, or $132.7 million at average exchange, in fiscal 2003-2004.

The Group, comprising perfumery, book, jewelry, apparel and confiserie retail operations, has approximately 120 million euros, or $160 million at current exchange, at its disposal for investments this year. Kreke added, “We’d like to invest even more — as soon as suitable locations can be found. We’re also in the position at all times to further expand via acquisitions and will do so when the acquisition object fits our yield-oriented strategy.”

Douglas is rumored to be eyeing the French perfumery chain Nocibe.

The Douglas board is proposing a dividend of 1 euro, or $1.34 per share, compared with the 0.75 euro, or 83 cents at average exchange rates, paid in the shortened, nine-month business year of 2003, which ended Sept. 30, 2003. — Melissa Drier

Lauder Honored by Junior League of L.A.

LOS ANGELES — Evelyn Lauder was honored earlier this month here by the Junior League of Los Angeles, which presented her with a Lifetime Community Achievement Award for her work in promoting breast cancer research. Dressed in a multicolored Bill Blass chiffon gown that Lauder dubbed her “rainbow dress,” she accepted the award from actor Tony Shalhoub.

Lauder founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in 1993. “When I found out that twice as many women were dying at that time from breast cancer as AIDS, I was outraged,” she said.The foundation became the first not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding research on the causes of and treatment for breast cancer. Now the largest organization of its kind, the foundation contributes a minimum of 85 percent of all funds to breast cancer research grants and awareness programs to achieve prevention and find a cure. Lauder was also instrumental in spearheading the pink ribbon campaign to support the cause, resulting in over 50 million ribbons distributed to date. The Estée Lauder Cos. is the foundation’s largest corporate sponsor, and has raised $100 million for research in the past 12 years.

Also on hand to honor Lauder was her husband, Leonard, as well as Disney chief executive officer Michael Eisner and his wife, Jane. Bob Iger, who will succeed Eisner on Sept. 30, was also seated at the same table with wife and Los Angeles-based CNN anchor Willow Bay, who was once the face of Estée Lauder.

Despite the sobering subject matter, the atmosphere was lighthearted, with guests bidding on auction items like a Marc Jacobs bag, a poker party — complete with dealer — and luxury getaways. — Michelle Dalton Tyree

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