A dividend increase of 40 percent and a 2-for-1 stock split was met by applause by shareholders of the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. at Friday’s annual meeting.
That’s how William P. Lauder, executive chairman, opened the shareholders meeting, held at the Essex House, and it went uphill from there.
Fabrizio Freda, president and chief executive officer, spoke about the firm’s vision to be the global leader in prestige beauty while retaining the Lauder family’s core values centered on integrity and creativity, to name a few. He also noted how the strategic modernization initiatives of the past two years have been fueled in part by a quote from chairman emeritus Leonard A. Lauder: “If you cannot see the future, you cannot get there.”
Strategies put into motion, whether further expansion into emerging markets or a push to grow in the digital space, allowed Freda to boast that fiscal year 2011 represented the “best performance in the company’s history.”
Among the data points highlighted was a 31 percent gain in operating income to $1.1 billion, translating into a 35 percent jump in income to $743 million after restructuring costs, and a 13 percent increase in sales to $8.8 billion.
There are some challenges ahead, such as in the emerging market of China. During the question-and-answer session, Freda noted the regulatory challenges of obtaining approval for both new products and ingredients, although that’s not a problem now given the pipeline in place. Another issue down the road is keeping an eye on when the local competition becomes stronger than their presence today, and Freda said one way to counter that is to build Lauder’s presence to ensure sufficient critical mass for when that time comes.
Still, the future seems bright, given that the company expects to generate more than 60 percent of its sales outside of the U.S. in fiscal year 2012. The firm is also forecasting a cut in costs of between $675 million and $725 million through 2013. And sales driven by travel shoppers as a category are expected to rival the beauty volume in North America by 2020, according to Freda.
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“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
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In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye