PARIS — Groupe Clarins' consolidated sales rose 0.9 percent to 240.4 million euros, or $315 million at average exchange, in the first quarter of 2007 versus the same prior-year period.At constant exchange, the company's consolidated revenues rose 3.7 percent.Clarins' total beauty business posted sales up 4 percent (or 6.8 percent at constant exchange) to 230.1 million euros, or $301.5 million. In a statement, the company said such growth was "in line with the group's target."Clarins' business, involving the distribution of other companies' fragrances, dropped 40.1 percent (or 37.1 percent at constant exchange) to 10.3 million euros, or $13.5 million, in the quarter. The company attributes the decline to "disappointing performances realized by the brands distributed in the United States." Trading conditions in the U.S. have been difficult due to the merger of May Co. and Federated Department Stores. Excluding the U.S. distribution operation, Clarins' distribution arm registered growth of 6.9 percent at constant exchange.The company said negative currency effects, due to a stronger euro, impacted Clarins' sales by 2.8 percentage points of growth.Within the company's beauty business, sales of skin care and makeup together generated 167 million euros, or $218.8 million, up 6.5 percent (or 9.3 percent at constant exchange). Clarins said its new color cosmetics line increased company makeup sales 30.2 percent. Clarins' treatment business rose 5 percent due to the well-received launches of Expertise 3P, Stretch Mark Control and Clarins Men Skin Difference, plus reformulated sun care products, the company said in its statement. Clarins' fragrance business generated sales of 63.1 million, or $82.7 million, down 2 percent. At constant exchange, its fragrance revenues rose 0.6 percent. Clarins' Thierry Mugler Perfumes business increased 4 percent, thanks to the introductions of the Eau de Star and Ice Men scents. Clarins' Azzaro business increased 6.9 percent, in part because of the launch of its Now fragrance pair.Clarins said that in coming months, it "will partially catch up with the shortfall registered by the perfume distribution activity."Clarins' first-quarter turnout "reinforces the management's optimism for the future," the company said in the statement.
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