Elizabeth Arden Inc. delivered sales growth of nearly 15 percent in the third quarter, fueled by strides in the mass retail channel and international markets, and new brands such as With Love Hilary Duff.

"Our business continued to benefit from a diversified business model," E. Scott Beattie, chairman, president and chief executive officer, told analysts Thursday.

Net income for the quarter rose to $3.2 million, or 11 cents a diluted share, from $702,000, or 2 cents a share, in the year-ago period as sales for the quarter ended March 31 increased 14.6 percent, to $219.2 million from $191.3 million. For the nine-month period, net income was $27.7 million, or 97 cents a share, from $34.7 million, or $1.17, in the prior year, on sales that gained 15.7 percent, to $884.8 million from $764.6 million a year ago.

The company said net sales of its North America fragrance business grew 17 percent during the quarter. Department store fragrance sales were soft due to retail consolidation, and mass fragrance sales surged 26 percent, helped, in part, by Arden's doubling its business in CVS Pharmacy and Kohl's Department Stores, which has doubled the space of its fragrance department. Despite Britney Spears' personal troubles, including several rehab stays, during the quarter, her fragrance franchise with Arden increased 25 percent in the mass channel. Across all channels, Beattie said, the bad press resulted in a sales drop of 10 percent. A new scent, Midnight Fantasy Britney Spears, was launched in the department store channel. Arden's international business gained 10 percent, led by strong growth in Asia Pacific, which increased 24 percent, and travel retail, which gained 15 percent in the third quarter.

For the fourth quarter, Arden forecasted revenue growth of 14 percent to 15 percent. — Molly Prior

Superdrug Taps Douglas, Barton

LONDON — Gavin Douglas may have won the Fashion Fringe budding designer competition here only last year, but he already has designs on the high street.

In September, Superdrug will introduce in its U.K. stores a line of accessories designed by Douglas. The health and beauty retailer will also sponsor an accessories award at the next Fashion Fringe event.

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