PARIS — L’Oréal is on a growth trajectory again, thanks to a strong progression in its consumer products activities and accelerated gains in new markets, especially Asia. The French beauty giant also cited improved performances in its professional products and active cosmetics activities.

This story first appeared in the November 6, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

L’Oréal’s sales dipped 0.7 percent to 4.24 billion euros, or $6.06 billion, in the third quarter versus the same prior-year period. However, on a like-for-like basis, they rose 0.8 percent.

Dollar figures are converted at average exchange rates for the period.

“Although the market remains difficult, the return to cosmetics sales growth in the third quarter is very encouraging and confirms the gradual improvement in sales we had announced,” stated Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oréal’s chief executive officer. “Each division has improved its performance compared with the first half.”

The company’s cosmetics division rang up sales of 3.97 billion euros, or $5.67 billion, down 0.3 percent in the quarter. Professional products generated 589.2 million euros, or $842.6 million, down 1.7 percent; consumer products made 2.08 billion euros, or $2.97 billion, up 3.2 percent; luxury products had sales of 1.02 billion euros, or $1.47 billion, a 5.4 percent dip, and active cosmetics registered revenues of 273.5 million euros, or $391.1 million, a 3 percent decline.

By geographic area, L’Oréal’s cosmetics activities in Western Europe rang up 1.68 billion euros, or $2.4 billion, a 3.5 percent on-year decline. The business rose 3.2 percent to 955 million euros, or $1.37 billion, in North America and 1.5 percent to 1.33 billion euros, or $1.9 billion in the “rest of world” zone.

The Body Shop’s revenues decreased 8 percent to 162.2 million euros, or $231.9 million, and L’Oréal’s dermatology activities’ sales dipped 3.6 percent to 107.5 million euros, or $153.7 million.

For the first nine months of 2009, the firm registered revenues of 13 billion euros, or $17.81 billion, a 0.7 percent gain. On a like-for-like basis, those declined 1.9 percent.

Agon stated the company is “confident that sales will continue to improve.”

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