PARIS — With a strong performance from its beauty and fragrance businesses, Groupe Clarins reported Thursday net sales for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 swelled 6.7 percent at average exchange and 9.4 percent at constant exchange to 220.7 million euros, or $270.2 million.

The French cosmetics firm also upped its full-year sales growth target to 6 percent at constant exchange, from the 5 percent increase it had originally forecast. It also said its operating margin for the full year is expected to exceed the 12.1 percent level it achieved in 2003, rather than remain flat year-on-year as it had earlier projected. Dollar figures are at the average exchange rate.

Clarins said its beauty and fragrance divisions contributed to growth in the period. The firm’s beauty business, which represents 65.2 percent of group sales, grew 8.7 percent at constant exchange in the quarter. Its perfume division’s sales were up 10.3 percent at constant exchange in the period, boosted by the launches of Thierry Mugler’s B Men and Azzaro’s Visit for Women fragrances.

For the first nine months of the year, Clarins registered net sales of 657.6 million euros, or $817.5 million, an increase of 5.3 percent at average exchange. At constant exchange, the uptick would have been 8.3 percent.

By division in the nine-month period, the company’s beauty branch rang up sales of 428.8 million euros, or $533 million, up 6.7 percent at average exchange and up 8.7 percent at constant exchange. Its fragrance business generated sales of 228.8 million euros, or $284.4 million, up 2.6 percent at average exchange and up 7.5 percent at constant exchange.

By region and at average exchange in the period, Europe registered a sales gain of 4.8 percent to 405.3 million euros, or $503.8 million; North America was up 1.2 percent to 155 million euros, or $192.7 million; Asia grew 16.3 percent to 56.1 million euros, or $69.7 million, and business in other regions grew 12.9 percent to 41.2 million euros, or $51.2 million. At constant exchange sales would have been up 4.4 percent, 11.2 percent, 23.6 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

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