L’Oréal Sales Up 9.4% in First Quarter

The French beauty giant today said it registered growth in all of its geographic branches and product divisions.

Jean-Paul Agon

PARIS — L’Oréal expects to achieve another year of sales and profit growth in 2012.

This story first appeared in the April 13, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The French beauty giant reported Thursday that it posted first-quarter revenues of 5.64 billion euros, or $7.39 billion, up 9.4 percent versus the same prior-year period. At constant exchange rates, sales gained 7.1 percent, and on a like-for-like basis, they increased 6.4 percent.

Dollar figures are calculated at average exchange rates for the three-month period ended March 31.

The company registered increases in all of its geographic branches and product divisions.

Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal chairman and chief executive officer, outlined three “key facts” of the quarter during a conference call Thursday evening. The first was an acceleration of growth “compared to the end of last year and compared to every quarter of last year, which is good.” Agon noted a strong performance of the Luxe division, as well.

Lancôme, designer fragrances and Kiehl’s particularly drove that business.

“Also a very important event this first quarter [is that] for the first time in the history of L’Oréal — in 103 years — the new markets have become the first region in terms of sales of our company, which is an historical milestone,” added Agon.

New markets — including Asia and the Pacific region (which combined particularly spurred gains), Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East — posted first-quarter revenues of 2.09 billion euros, or $2.74 billion, up 14.1 percent.

Sales in Western Europe rose 2.3 percent to 1.95 billion euros, or $2.56 billion, and revenues in North America grew 13.1 percent to 1.26 billion euros, or $1.65 billion.

By division, Consumer Products’ sales were 2.77 billion euros, or $3.63 billion, up 7.2 percent. Revenues at the Luxe division were 1.37 billion euros, or $1.72 billion, a 17.8 percent increase, while the Professional Products division registered revenues of 755.6 million euros, or $989.5 million, a 5.6 percent gain. And the Active Cosmetics division’s sales increased 5.3 percent to 468.6 million euros, or $613.6 million.

Revenues at The Body Shop grew 6.4 percent to 180.4 million euros, or $236.2 million, while L’Oréal’s Dermatology business generated sales of 153.5 million euros, or $201 million, an 18.4 percent uptick.

Looking ahead at full-year 2012, Agon said, “Our ambition is to be above the growth of the market.”