PARIS — Due to strong sales in its beauty business, France’s Groupe Clarins said Thursday that second-quarter net sales rose 12.8 percent to 221.9 million euros, or $267.4 million.

On a like-for-like basis sales climbed 14 percent. Dollar figures are at the average exchange rate for the period.

The company’s skin care business grew 11.9 percent at constant exchange, thanks, in part, to the launch of Super Restorative, a line for mature skin, and the introduction of additional Clarins Men products, the firm said in a statement.

For the first half of 2004, the company’s sales were up 4.6 percent to 436.9 million euros or $536.4 million. At constant exchange, they increased 7.8 percent.

Clarins reconfirmed its forecast of attaining a 5 percent sales hike at constant exchange for the full year.

“The operating profit should progress faster than sales as a result of a buoyant activity enabling an optimization of fixed costs and a cautious spending policy in commercial expenses,” the company said in the statement.

By activity in the first half, Clarins’ beauty division rang up sales of 296.2 million euros, or $363.9 million, up 6.4 percent, and its fragrance business generated 140.7 million euros, or $172.8 million, up 0.9 percent. On a like-for-like basis, those figures would have been up 8.8 percent and 5.9 percent, respectively.

By geographic zone, Clarins’ sales were up 2.9 percent in Europe to 275.5 million euros, or $338.3 million; up 2.4 percent in North America to 95.9 million euros, or $117.8 million; up 19.8 percent in Asia to 37.4 million euros, or $45.9 million, and up 11.7 percent in “other countries” to 28.1 million euros, or $34.5 million. On a like-for-like basis, those sales were up 2.8 percent, 13.2 percent, 27.7 percent and 16.4 percent, respectively.

Clarins will report interim results Sept. 9, after the close of the Paris Bourse.

Clarins will celebrate its 50th birthday and its 20 years as a listed company in October with a bonus issue of one new share for five old ones.

— Brid Costello

This story first appeared in the July 30, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.