Strength abroad helped The Estée Lauder Cos. drive up third-quarter sales, but softness in the U.S. resulted in a dip in profits.

Net income fell 4 percent to $90.1 million, compared with $93.9 million a year earlier. However, earnings per diluted share rose a penny to 46 cents, due to fewer shares outstanding in the most recent quarter.

Sales for the three months ended March 31 advanced 11.2 percent to $1.88 billion from $1.69 billion.

“One of the great strengths of our company is our geographic and product category balance,” said William Lauder, chief executive officer. “This was clearly visible in our results this quarter, which enabled us to deliver solid sales growth despite the softness in the U.S. retail environment.”

Quarterly operating profits in the Americas fell 30 percent to $50.4 million on a 2.8 percent increase in sales to $880.9 million. In contrast, operating profits in the company’s business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa shot up 17.1 percent to $77.3 million on a 17.2 percent rise in sales to $701.5 million.

For complete coverage, see Wednesday’s issue of WWD.

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