PARIS — L’Oréal said Wednesday that third-quarter sales declined 0.8 percent to 5.48 billion euros, or $7.26 billion, after being hit by negative currency effects and a slowdown in North America — where there was significant de-stocking.

This story first appeared in the October 31, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Currency fluctuations negatively impacted revenues by 6 percent. On a like-for-like basis, sales grew 4.1 percent in the period ended Sept. 30.

During a conference call with financial analysts and journalists on Wednesday night, L’Oréal chairman and chief executive officer Jean-Paul Agon said it has been a “pretty good quarter everywhere, in terms of regions and divisions — except in one spot, which is the consumer division in the United States.”

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Sales in North America were 1.31 billion euros, or $1.74 billion, down 2.7 percent on a reported basis and up 0.6 percent in like-for-like terms.

Agon said the consumer division had a robust start to 2013 in the U.S., with a full pipeline of launches and initiatives, but then the market slowed markedly and retailers in the country severely reduced their stock.

“The cuts in inventory were bigger than we had anticipated,” continued Agon. “But now…[at] the end of September year-to-date the situation is pretty healthy for us.”

He said, “It’s true that the market has quite significantly decelerated in the U.S.,” but said that the situation should rebalance there.

Agon expects the global cosmetics market will end the year up around 3.5 percent or 3.6 percent, about one point lower than in 2012.

Dollar figures are converted at average exchange for the period to which they refer.

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