NEW YORK — Estée Lauder Cos. may be coming off a challenging 2002, but the company believes it was a transition year that was all about investing for future growth.

Earnings for the year ended June 30, attributed to common stock, declined 40.2 percent to $168.5 million, or 70 cents a diluted share, as reported. Before restructuring charges and an accounting change, the bottom line dipped a milder 16.8 percent to $289.4 million, or $1.10.

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