At THE ESTEE LAUDER COS., third-quarter profits attributable to common stock jumped 73.9 percent to $77.9 million, or 33 cents a diluted share. Sales advanced 10.5 percent to $1.24 billion, or 5 percent, exclusive of the impact of foreign currency translation. President and chief executive Fred Langhammer said efforts to revitalize the flagship brand have shown positive results. “We’re getting very good traction, so even with the difficult retail environment, the Lauder brand is performing very well,” he said. “We’re just at the beginning of the evolution of the Lauder brand.” The fall launch of its new women’s fragrance, Beyond Paradise, is intended to add to the brand’s momentum. For the full fiscal year, Lauder rubber stamped its previous earnings estimates of $1.28 to $1.33 a share, though the firm backed off somewhat on the sales front. Net sales are slated for a rise of about 7 percent, which means a 4 percent increase on a constant currency basis.... Turnaround efforts at REVLON INC., especially increased brand support, drove net sales up 6 percent to $292 million, the first increase in several years, though losses of $48.7 million, or 93 cents a share, marked the firm’s 18th consecutive deficit. So far, the firm has recognized charges of $115 million for its revitalization program, which could tally an eventual price tag of $160 million. “We’re continuing to execute the plan, which is very much focused on consumers, our retail partners and the organization, and we’re beginning to pull the levers on all three of these elements,” said president and chief executive Jack Stahl....Slammed by currency translation, L’OREAL’s first-quarter sales dipped 1.1 percent to $3.97 billion. On a like-for-like basis, though, the topline increased 10.4 percent. Dollar figures have been converted from euros at current exchange rates. The French beauty giant is on track to post double-digit profit gains for 2003 .... Of PROCTER & GAMBLE CO.’s five business divisions, health care and beauty care were the leaders in third-quarter sales gains. Health care led all segments with an 18 percent rise in sales to $1.43 billion and produced a 19 percent jump in net earnings to $147 million from a year ago. Unit volume increased 18 percent. Beauty care, P&G’s second-largest business after fabric and home care, saw sales rise 10 percent to $3.03 billion and net earnings grow 19 percent to $463 million. Unit volume was up 9 percent on the strength of Pantene, Head and Shoulders and feminine care. Collectively, health care and beauty care account for 41.5 percent of P&G’s net sales and 44.9 percent of the company’s net income. P&G also is seeing more than organic growth. Recently, the consumer products giant agreed to acquire the majority of Darmstadt, Germany-based beauty and hair care firm Wella.... AVON PRODUCTS INC.’s fourth-quarter profits rose 74.8 percent to $193 million, or 80 cents a diluted share, while a year-ago charge eased comparisons. Without the charge, earnings increased 8 percent. Revenues strengthened 5.7 percent to $1.85 billion for the three months, or grew by 14 percent without the negative effect of currency translation. Units advanced by 16 percent, while the number of active representatives climbed 13 percent. Chairman and chief executive officer Andrea Jung called last year “the strongest year in Avon’s recent history,” and described it as the beginning of “an era of break-out growth for the company.” Earlier this year, the firm pulled its fledgling retail brand BeComing from about 90 J.C. Penney Co. doors.... In a more than $400 million bottom-line swing against a year ago, SHISEIDO GROUP returned to profitability in fiscal 2003 with income of $211.2 million for the full year. The firm endured one-time losses of $80.5 million last year, and $493.1 million the year before. Sales picked up 5.3 percent, to $5.4 billion. Dollar figures have been converted from the yen at current exchange rates.

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