NEW YORK — Better business controls and improved sales, particularly in its new fragrances, helped Elizabeth Arden Inc. increase its third-quarter profits.

Net income for the three months ended Oct. 26 rallied 12.8 percent to $37.7 million, or $1.64 a diluted share, when compared with income of $33.4 million, or $1.48, in the year-ago quarter. Sales grew 10 percent to $314.8 million over sales of $286.2 million.

"We are pleased with the momentum in our business and the consistent positive performance year-to-date," E. Scott Beattie, chairman, president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Sales growth was driven by the continued strength of the firm’s open-sell program, marketing directed toward mass and mid-tier retailers and new products. Also contributing to top-line growth are its newer fragrances, ardenbeauty and Forever Elizabeth.

Beattie went on to say the firm continues to improve its brand-building efforts. For example, he said during the third quarter it launched its "Open for Beauty" campaign featuring its new corporate spokesperson Catherine Zeta-Jones. In addition, last month it began television advertising for the new Elizabeth Taylor fragrance, Forever Elizabeth.

As reported, the firm, formerly FFI, acquired the Arden business in January 2001 and subsequently changed its name.

The Miami-based beauty firm reiterated its full-year guidance for sales and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of within its previously provided guidance of $735 million to $745 million and $95 million to $100 million, respectively, but at the lower end the range.

For the nine months, EA reported income of $17.7 million, or 77 cents a diluted share, reversing a loss in the year-ago period of $10.7 million, or 77 cents. Sales increased 11.1 percent to $582.3 million from $523.9 million.

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