Lindsay Owen-Jones

NEW YORK — Booming sales in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America helped L’Oréal overcome sluggish sales in Europe and North America for the nine months ended Sept. 30.<BR><BR>The Paris-based cosmetics giant reported sales of 10.71...

NEW YORK — Booming sales in Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America helped L’Oréal overcome sluggish sales in Europe and North America for the nine months ended Sept. 30.

The Paris-based cosmetics giant reported sales of 10.71 billion euros, or $13.1 billion, a gain of 3.8 percent compared with the year-ago period’s results.

According to the company, currency fluctuations favorably impacted results by 3.2 percent.

The consumer products division, with Maybelline, Garnier and the newly launched XXL mascara under its purview, accounted for the lion’s share of sales, coming in at 5.92 billion euros, or $7.23 billion, an increase of 2.4 percent. Dollar figures are converted at the average exchange rate.

However, the active cosmetics division, which relies on the pharmacy channel for sales, posted the greatest increase. Sales of Lyposine and Normaderm, slimming and antiacne products respectively, helped sales rise 15.1 percent to 679 million euros, or $830.1 million, compared with the year-ago period.

“L’Oréal’s strategy of retail channel diversification and strong geographic expansion outside the group’s original markets has enabled like-for-like growth of 6.4 percent, despite the sluggish climate in Europe,” said Lindsay Owen-Jones, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement. Like-for-like figures are based on a “comparable structure and identical exchange rates,” according to the company.

Sales in Western Europe, the company’s largest market, rose 1.2 percent to 5.58 billion euros, or $6.82 billion, while North American sales fell 0.6 percent to 2.83 billion euros, or $3.46 billion.

Sales for the rest of the world are poised to overtake those of North America, rising 17.2 percent to 2.3 billion euros, or $2.8 billion, during the period. The popularity of Garnier and Maybelline boosted sales in China by 67 percent, according to the company, and helped the overall Asian market return a 20.9 percent increase to 937 million euros, or $1.15 billion. Eastern European countries, including Poland and the Russian Federation, had similar success with Garnier and Maybelline, leading to a 27.8 percent sales increase to 374 million euros, or $457.2 million.

— Ross Tucker

This story first appeared in the October 21, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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