By Vicki M. Young
NEW YORK — Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. on Thursday said that it posted a smaller-than-expected increase in third-quarter profit, partly because of lukewarm sales in Asia and Europe.
Shares of the company, which includes the Clinique and Bobbi Brown brands, fell more than 6 percent in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
The New York-based firm earned $106.2 million for the three months ended March 31, or 46 cents a diluted share, compared with $100.1 million, or 42 cents, a year ago. Analysts’ consensus estimates had pegged earnings per share at 51 cents for the quarter. The company sold its Jane brand business in the year-ago period. Excluding the discontinued operation, earnings in the year-ago quarter would have been $100.1 million.
While sales rose to $1.54 billion from $1.42 billion in the quarter, the company said the 8.2 percent gain was slightly below its expectations.
“Our business in the Americas led sales growth, while mixed results in Europe and Asia slightly tempered our overall performance,” William P. Lauder, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Sales dropped in France, Italy, Japan and Korea, while demand was strong in the U.S., China, Hong Kong and Australia, the company said.