The Est?e Lauder Cos.’ global sprawl helped to shield the beauty firm, which reported a 7.7 percent increase in second-quarter profits, from a weakening U.S. market.

The beauty firm is also ramping up its presence in alternative channels. During a conference call with analysts today, Lynne Greene, global president of Clinique, said that the brand will launch on QVC on Feb. 17. She noted that television shopping channels yielded $600 million in sales in 2006, and are growing at a rate of about 16 percent annually. The deal with QVC comes on the heels of Clinique’s partnership with Allergan that will result in a specialized line of Clinique-branded products to be sold only in doctors’ offices. The professional line is slated to launch this fall.

Following the call, president and chief executive officer William P. Lauder said, “The strength of our business will continue to come from our brands outside North America,” where the company generates 53 percent of its sales.

International sales and a shift in the calendar grew net earnings in the quarter ended Dec. 31, by 7.7 percent to $224.4 million, or $1.14 a diluted share, from $208.4 million, or 99 cents, in the year ago period. Sales climbed 16 percent to $2.31 billion from $1.99 billion a year earlier.

For more, see Monday’s issue of WWD.

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