By  on October 25, 2006

NEW YORK - The Estee Lauder Cos. had a solid start to fiscal 2007 in the face of Federated Department Stores’ string of store closures and the newly implemented national gift with purchase program.

For the first quarter ended Sept. 30, net earnings from continuing operations fell 6.1 percent to $58 million, or 27 cents a diluted share, from $61.8 million, or 28 cents a share, in the prior year on sales that increased 6.4 percent, to $1.6 billion.

William P. Lauder, president and chief executive officer of the Estee Lauder Cos., declared that fiscal 2007 “started on firm footing,” as the company continues to widen its international scope and tap new distribution channels. During the quarter, the company’s Clinique brand entered into a long-term agreement to roll out to Canada’s largest drugstore chain, Shoppers Drug Mart.

All beauty categories — save for hair care — were adversely affected by the Federated store closures, said the company. Hair care sales soared 17 percent to $82.4 million, while skin care sales gained 8.3 percent to $567 million and makeup sales increased 6.9 percent to $646.8 million, bolstered by makeup artist brands MAC Cosmetics and Bobbi Brown. Fragrance sales dipped 1.3 percent to $289.3 million.

The company’s flagship, Estee Lauder, weathered its first national gift with purchase event at Macy’s, running a print advertisement for the promotion in People Magazine for the first time.

For complete coverage see tomorrow's issue of WWD.

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