By  on February 15, 2010

PARIS — L’Oréal’s net profits and sales declined in 2009. Meanwhile, the French beauty giant said it is poised to return to growth this year.

L’Oréal posted net profits of 1.79 billion euros, or $2.5 billion, in the 12 months ended Dec. 31, down 8 percent on the same prior-year period.

The company registered a 0.4 percent sales decline to 17.47 billion euros, or $24.37 billion. Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the period.

In the fourth quarter of 2009, L’Oréal’s sales dipped 3.5 percent to 4.47 billion euros, or $6.6 billion.

“After a difficult start to the year due to a contraction in sell-out and drastic inventory reduction by the trade, the cosmetics market has gradually improved and ended up slightly positive. In this context, L’Oréal has weathered the crisis well and confirmed its position as the world leader in beauty,” said Jean-Paul Agon, the company’s chief executive officer. “Overall, L’Oréal has emerged from 2009 stronger and has prepared itself well for a return to sales and results growth in 2010.”

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