PARIS — L’Oréal reported Wednesday its sales for the nine months ended Sept. 30 fell 2.7 percent to $12.46 billion, or 10.5 billion euros at current exchange. The French beauty giant also said it is targeting a sales increase of 7 percent and double-digit profit growth for the year.

On a like-for-like basis, the company’s business was up 6.5 percent in the nine-month period, L’Oréal said in a statement.

Currency fluctuations had a negative impact on the company’s sales by 9.3 percent for the nine months, compared with a negative impact of 10.5 percent for the first six months of 2003.

By division and for the first nine months on a like-for-like basis, sales of L’Oréal’s professional products rose 8.4 percent to $1.71 billion, or 1.45 billion euros; the consumer products’ business was up 7.6 percent to $6.83 billion, or 5.78 billion euros; luxury products’ sales were plus-1.9 percent to $2.86 billion, or 2.42 billion euros, and the active cosmetics activities registered an 11.1 percent uptick to $697.4 million, or 590 million euros. The company’s total cosmetics sales rose 6.4 percent to $12.19 billion, or 10.32 billion euros. Its dermatology division posted sales up 9.6 percent to $250.6 million, or 212 million euros.

By geographic zone in the nine months, L’Oréal product sales in Western Europe rose 5 percent to $6.51 billion, or 5.51 billion euros; its North American business was up 4.2 percent to $3.36 billion, or 2.84 billion euros, and L’Oréal activities in the rest of the world showed an increase of 14.2 percent to $2.32 billion, or 1.96 billion euros.

L’Oréal said sales in the third quarter were up 5.2 percent and in line with the group’s forecast.

“The strong growth achieved since September and the intense program of new product launches in the fourth quarter suggest we can hope for an increase in sales of around 7 percent for the year as a whole,” Lindsay Owen-Jones, L’Oréal’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in the statement. “In view of these facts, I can confirm that the target in 2003 is to achieve another year of double-digit growth for net operational profit.”— Brid Costello

Tchibo Bid Unconfirmed


BERLIN — Spokesmen for both Allianz and Tchibo declined to comment on widespread rumors that Tchibo had made a formal offer Wednesday for Allianz’s 43.6 percent stake in Beiersdorf.

Speculation that Tchibo’s bid could reach $147.50 (125 euros) per share initially sent Beiersdorf stocks to a new yearly high of $140.43 (119.01 euros). However, the high didn’t last, with the stock closing Wednesday in Frankfurt at $127.20 (107.8 euros), down from $134.76 (114.20 euros).

JLo and Co. Settle Suit

NEW YORK — Terri Williamson, Glow Industries, Jennifer Lopez, Coty Inc. and Sweetface Fashion Company LLC announced Wednesday that they have settled the trademark infringement suit brought by Glow Industries in the United States District Court, Central District of California.

According to a statement issued jointly by Williamson, president and founder of Glow Industries, and Coty, pursuant to a settlement agreement, all parties have agreed to dismiss the pending claims and counterclaims in the litigation.

The initial lawsuit, originally filed by Williamson in August 2002, claimed that Lopez and her fragrance licensee, Coty Inc., infringed on her company’s trademark through the use of the Glow by JLo name on Lopez’s first fragrance. The lawsuit also alleged trademark dilution and federal, California statutory and common-law unfair competition.

Under the agreement, Glow Industries will continue to use the Glow mark on its bath, body care and fragrance products during a limited transition period. Lopez also will continue to own and use the Glow by JLo mark for her fragrance and related products. The other terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed.

Williamson, while citing legal reasons for not commenting on the terms of the settlement, said she will most likely rebrand her product line and company by spring 2004. “I am extremely committed to my target market — health-conscious men and women ages 25 to 45,” said Williamson. “I’m a member of that club — it makes sense. Also, we have a very loyal customer base that feels a lot of ownership with this brand.”Glow Industries, a four-and-a-half-year-old firm, sells to upscale specialty stores nationwide, including its own namesake store in Los Angeles, select Nordstrom doors and boutiques at Ritz Carlton hotels.

Williamson did not further comment on specifics of the rebranding, saying plans have not yet been finalized.

“I am glad that we have reached a mutually satisfactory conclusion to this matter,” said Michele Scannavini, president of Coty’s Lancaster Group Worldwide division, in a statement. “We are pleased that we were able to work constructively with Glow Industries to come to a resolution.” In the statement, Scannavini also commended Williamson for the development of her product line. A Coty spokesperson declined to comment further.

— Julie Naughton

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