ESTEE LAUDER’s sales breached the $5 billion mark in 2003 for the first time in the company’s history,increasing 7.9 percent to $5.12 billion from $4.74 billion. The company returned to profitability in the fourth quarter of 2003 and said it expects profit growth to continue in 2004. Lauder generated profits of $53 million, or 20 cents a diluted share, for the three months ended June 30 despite a one-time pretax charge of $22 million, or $13.5 million aftertax, related to a pending settlement of a price-fixing lawsuit against it and other cosmetics makers and retailers. The firm said it achieved $35 million in restructuring benefits in 2003 and added $25 million in supply chain cost savings. Fred Langhammer, president and chief executive officer, said 30 percent of 2003 sales were generated from products introduced over the past three years. The firm also forecast higher profits and revenues in 2004….REVLON INC. said stellar results at both the Revlon and Almay divisions drove net sales up 4.5 percent to $322.3 million from $308.2 million, but the cosmetics powerhouse is still seeing red on its bottom line, as its second-quarter losses amounted to $37.8 million, or 68 cents a diluted share, extending its losing streak to 19 consecutive quarters. The quarter’s results were dragged down by charges of $15 million associated with its growth plan, bringing the total charges incurred to date this year to $26 million….Citing a double-digit sales increase in international markets and a weak dollar, AVON PRODUCTS enjoyed a 10.6 percent increase in second-quarter net income and it elevated its earnings forecast for the year. Profits totaled $171.5 million, or 71 cents a diluted share. Revenues rose 8.3 percent to $1.64 billion, its strongest quarterly dollar-denominated sales growth in three years, and sales were up 10 percent when excluding exchange rate fluctuation, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in local currencies. Sales were driven by a 14 percent increase in beauty products, reflecting a 29 percent increase in skin care and solid contributions from color cosmetics, fragrance and personal care, and a 14 percent gain in the number of active representatives….Even in its current pre-Wella state, PROCTER & GAMBLE CO. reaped a large windfall from its beauty business as income rose 4.9 percent to $955 million, or 68 cents a diluted share. Excluding restructuring charges, income would have reached $1.22 billion, or 87 cents. Sales swept up 7.4 percent to $10.92 billion. Beauty care, with a 39 percent increase in its share of overall profits, was responsible for $466 million of net income, growing faster than any other segment of P&G’s business….In Germany, P&G’s acquisition target, WELLA GROUP, saw sales fall 4.1 percent to $920 million, but rise 5.7 percent in local currencies during the second quarter. While the SARS epidemic didn’t have a substantial effect on volume, the “continuously difficult overall economic situation and the accompanying restraint in consumption” did hurt sales….UNILEVER PLC chairman N.W.A. Fitzgerald identified frozen foods, household care and prestige perfumes as three businesses that were failing to meet its standards and were holding back sales growth. Principally because of exceptional profits on businesses sold last year, net income dropped 16.9 percent to $736.4 million in the second quarter. Reports of a possible divestiture of Unilever’s fragrance unit, sales of which are dominated by Calvin Klein, have surfaced repeatedly since 2001. Unilever sold its Elizabeth Arden and Elizabeth Taylor brands to FFI Fragrances in 2000….DEL LABORATORIES managed to lift second-quarter income 7.6 percent to $4.9 million, or 52 cents a diluted share, despite charges associated with shifts in its manufacturing. However, excluding a $1.2 million aftertax charge to cover severance for those affected by the transfer of manufacturing to Rocky Point, N.C., from Farmingdale, N.Y., income would have risen 32.8 percent to $6.1 million….Robust sales growth boosted INTER PARFUMS’ bottom line, as the New York-based fragrance maker said profits surged 52.4 percent to $2.9 million, or 15 cents a diluted share. Sales also grew by more than half to $41.4 million….Buoyed by solid results in its beauty care business, ALBERTO-CULVER CO. reported a 16.9 percent jump in third-quarter net earnings to $42.6 million, or 71 cents, and said it expects to achieve record profits and sales for the year. Sales climbed 8.1 percent to $736.1 million.

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