NEW YORK – The Estee Lauder Cos., as it continues to plot its distribution strategy beyond the department store, saw net earnings from continuing operations rise almost 39 percent on a sales gain of nearly 12 percent to $1.99 billion, from $1.78 billion, in the second quarter ended Dec. 31.

The company’s net earnings from continuing operations for the quarter rose to $208.5 million, or 99 cents a diluted share, from $150.4 million, or 70 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

For the first half, net earnings from continuing operations increased 25.6 percent to $266.5 million, or $1.25 a share, from $212.2 million, or 97 cents, in the prior year, on sales that gained 9.3 percent to $3.58 billion from $3.28 billion from a year ago.

For complete coverage see tomorrow’s issue of WWD.

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