NEW YORK — Strong international and beauty sales drove Avon Products Inc. to post first-quarter earnings that were slightly better than expected.

For the three months ended March 31, the New York-based global direct seller said net income grew 2.7 percent to $98.9 million, or 42 cents per diluted share. That compares with last year’s profits of $96.3 million, or 40 cents. Earnings beat the Wall Street forecast by a penny and the company’s own guidance by 2 cents. As the company had said previously, earnings included pre-tax costs of $18 million for the repositioning of its Becoming product line.

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