By and  on February 1, 2008

PARIS — Philip Shearer will join Groupe Clarins as its executive vice president, a newly created position, starting March 1.

The announcement of his nomination, published Thursday, confirms reports in these pages that he would be joining Clarins' top management here.

The company said that Shearer is to "initially" serve as company executive vice president. In that role, he will participate in the development of all Clarins' brands, including its signature line, Azzaro, Thierry Mugler, My Blend and Stella Cadente.

It could not be immediately learned what Shearer's job will evolve into, since Clarins executives could not be reached for comment Thursday. However, it has been speculated in the market he will eventually become the company's chief executive officer.

"Mr. Shearer is a respected leader in our industry, and his contribution to our group's management team will enable us to pursue our expansion, benefiting from his experience and expertise," stated Christian Courtin-Clarins, Clarins' president and ceo.

As previously reported, Shearer resigned in December 2007 as group president of the Estée Lauder Cos. after six years with the company. His departure followed a seismic shift in Lauder's top management, in which the company unexpectedly unveiled a succession plan.

The Moroccan-born Frenchman (who subsequently became an American citizen) has a strong international management background. From 1983 to 1986, Shearer ran Elizabeth Arden's operations in Mexico, then joined L'Oréal as managing director of Lancôme in the U.K. before becoming president and managing director of Lancôme Parfums et Beauté in Tokyo. Afterward, Shearer went to the U.S. as senior vice president of the Lancôme division, eventually rising to president of the Luxury Products Division there.

In other Clarins news, the company reported "better-than-expected" sales growth for 2007, when revenues hit the 1 billion euro mark for the first time. However, this came on news that Clarins' operating margin for 2007 will be lower than it was in 2006, when it reached 13.2 percent.

Clarins will publish its yearend results on March 19.

For the 2007 calendar year, the company's sales were 1.01 billion euros, or $1.38 billion at average exchange, a 4.2 percent rise. At constant exchange, revenues increased 7.3 percent, which exceeded Clarins' guidance of 6 percent sales growth at constant exchange.Clarins said that its revenue gains were achieved in "a challenging economic environment," including "uncertainty over the U.S. economy, reduction of inventories by certain retailers, the strong euro and fragile consumer spending in Europe."

By category, Clarins' beauty business posted sales of 677.8 million euros, or $929 million, up 5.4 percent, or by 8.6 percent at constant exchange. Its fragrance business registered revenues of 281.9 million, or $386.4 million, up 4.8 percent, or by 8 percent at constant exchange. And its distribution business made 47.8 million euros, or $65.5 million, down 13.5 percent, or minus 11.4 percent. Clarins' sales for the fourth quarter of 2007 came in at 281.1 million euros, or $407.2 million at average exchange, a gain of 1.2 percent, or 5.2 percent at constant exchange.

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