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Top Notes

<b>BOOTS’ DOWNHILL WALK:</b> The sale of the Halfords’ auto parts chain knocked down The Boots Group plc’s net income for the year ended March 31 by 25 percent to $493 million, or 59 cents a diluted share, from $659.5 million, or 75...

BOOTS’ DOWNHILL WALK: The sale of the Halfords’ auto parts chain knocked down The Boots Group plc’s net income for the year ended March 31 by 25 percent to $493 million, or 59 cents a diluted share, from $659.5 million, or 75 cents. The firm incurred a $200 million loss on the divestiture, which garnered $696 million. Sales were essentially flat, declining 0.1 percent to $8.68 billion from $8.69 billion and were up 6 percent, to $8.3 billion, for continuing operations. Dollar figures are converted from the pound at current exchange. Sales growth in beauty and toiletries was 6.8 percent, reflecting a strong performance in cosmetics, where sales were up 11.1 percent. Skin care sales were up 6.2 percent and sun care was up 13.8 percent. The company did not break out sales figures for its product divisions.

LANGHAMMER’S OPTIONS: The Estée Lauder Cos. president and chief executive Fred Langhammer exercised options to purchase 200,000 shares of the firm’s common stock on May 30, according to a Form 4-A filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. On that same day, he sold 200,000 shares at prices ranging from $33 to $33.34, netting a total of more than $4 million after subtracting for the cost of the shares. The options had been exercisable since January 2000 and were set to expire in November 2005. Langhammer continued to hold 100,050 shares of Lauder’s common stock, as well as options to purchase another 4.1 million at various exercise prices.

CACHAREL CHANGE: Annalisa Loustau-Elia has been named international general manager for L’Oréal’s Cacharel and Guy Laroche beauty brands. Loustau-Elia replaces Cecile Begue-Turon, who left the firm after holding the position since fall 2000. Loustau-Elia was formerly the director of international marketing of baby care at Procter & Gamble’s Pampers brand.

ARDEN BREAK-IN: The Elizabeth Arden New York office was broken into last weekend and 10 to 12 laptops containing company information were stolen. According to a company source, it was discovered that unauthorized people were in the building located at 200 Park Avenue South on Saturday and Sunday. Another source revealed that there was also a robbery in the company’s Geneva office in the last month. A company spokeswoman confirmed the reports, but declined further comment.

ROCKIN’ OUT: Slatkin & Co. has introduced a new potpourri under its Elton John candle collection, called — naturally enough — Elton Rocks. Slatkin gives part of the sale proceeds of each Elton John item to the Elton John AIDS Foundation and, to date, the collection has generated $600,000 for the foundation.

LANCOME LIMELIGHT: Once again, Lancôme will serve as the exclusive beauty partner of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for the 55th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Lancôme will provide ongoing counsel on the latest trends, colors and collections for award-season events. In addition to other involvement, on the night of the awards, Lancôme will provide attendees with one-on-one consultations from trained artists.