PARIS — Despite a tough economic environment, L’Oréal executives maintain their guidance of 6 percent annual sales growth in like-for-like terms for 2008.
“Cosmetics markets are resisting well, and we have good reason to believe they will continue to resist,” said Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal’s chief executive officer, during a meeting held Friday for financial analysts in the company’s headquarters in Clichy, a Paris suburb. “I think 2008 will remain a remarkable year for our gain in market share. As far as growth is concerned, we are absolutely determined to go back to a 6 percent growth rate.
“Because of our active launch scheme for the end of the year, all our teams are working hard toward a growth figure that will be higher than that of the first half,” he continued. “This growth, because of the launch timing, should be a lot stronger over the fourth quarter than over the third quarter of 2008.”
Other factors expected to contribute are “the intensification of our optimization efforts and the implementation of more stringent cost procedures,” according to Agon.
As reported, L’Oréal posted net profits for first-half 2008 that increased 6.4 percent versus first-half 2007 to 1.26 billion euros, or $1.92 billion at average exchange. At constant exchange, the French beauty giant’s net income rose 10.1 percent.
L’Oréal registered operating profits up 3.9 percent (and 8.5 percent at constant exchange) in the period to 1.5 billion euros, or $2.29 billion, representing 17.3 percent of sales, a 40 basis-point on-year gain — a company record.
Its revenues were 8.65 billion euros, or $13.23 billion at average exchange, in first-half 2008, a 1.6 percent rise, or a 5.3 percent uptick in like-for-like terms. Excluding currency fluctuations, the sales growth was 7.1 percent.
During the analyst meeting, it was revealed that Renaud de Lesquen is the new general manager of YSL Beauté, which L’Oréal acquired earlier this year from PPR for 1.15 billion euros, or $1.68 billion at current exchange.
De Lesquen, who was formerly international brand president of Giorgio Armani Parfums and Cosmetics, replaces Andrea Barbier in the role. It could not immediately be learned who succeeded de Lesquen at Armani.
YSL Beauté, which includes beauty brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Roger & Gallet, Boucheron, Stella McCartney, Oscar de la Renta and Ermenegildo Zegna, registered first-half 2008 sales of 299 million euros, or $457.6 million at average exchange in the period, up 3.1 percent versus first-half 2007. It is now part of L’Oréal’s luxury products division.
“We did not see during this first half a marked trend of trading down on the part of consumers,” he explained. “On the contrary. Whether it is in skin care or makeup or hair care, the trend is more toward trading up.”
L’Oréal’s stock closed down 2.72 percent to 67.91 euros, or $99.51 at current exchange, on the Paris Bourse Friday.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast