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L'Oréal Reports "Good Start" to 2011

L'Oréal reported sales of €5.16 billion for the first quarter of 2011, with strong growth in consumer and luxury products, good performance in North America and continuing dynamism in new markets.

“The start to this year is encouraging, as it confirms the group’s good dynamics, to which all divisions are contributing, particularly consumer products and luxury products, driven by the vitality of their major brands: L’Oréal Paris and Maybelline on the one hand, and Lancôme, Giorgio Armani and Kiehl’s, on the other," said Jean-Paul Agon, chairman and CEO, L'Oréal. "In geographic terms, North America is accelerating strongly. Growth continues to be robust in the new markets, particularly in Latin America, in Asia (excluding Japan) and in Africa, Middle East. However, the situation remains more contrasting across Europe."

In the first quarter, the professional products division posted growth of +3.1% like-for-like, faster than the market trend, and +9.6% based on reported figures (after taking into account the impact of currency fluctuations and of changes in consolidation due to the acquisition of distributors in the United States). It continued its expansion with an additional 20,000 active salons compared to the first quarter of 2010.

The consumer products division achieved sales growth of +6.3% like-for-like, and +9.4% based on reported figures. The division is continuing to strongly advance in North America and in the new markets.

L’Oréal Paris made a good start to the year, with major innovations: Sublime Mousse hair colorant, Elsève Volume collagen shampoo, Lash Architect 4D mascara and the new Youth Code skin care. Garnier launched its hair care line Fructis Pure Clean, and Intensive 7 days body lotions.

The momentum of Maybelline is continuing with Lash by Lash mascara, Superstay 24 lipstick and Fit Me foundations and powders. The West European market is flat, except in make-up, where the division is continuing to win market share. In North America, where the market is growing slightly, the division is improving its positions in all categories. In Latin America, the market trend remains very favorable, and the division is advancing, particularly in deodorants. In Asia excluding Japan, where markets are also growing, the division is being boosted by the hair care and make-up segments. There is a contrasting situation in Eastern Europe, because of the difficulties in Central European markets, and the phasing of launches in Russia.

The luxury products division recorded growth of +7.7% like-for-like and +10.3% based on reported figures. The division’s sell-out accelerated significantly in the United States, and remained very dynamic in the new markets.

Lancôme is continuing to score successes in skin care with Génifique and Absolue; the brand is accelerating in make-up thanks to Teint Miracle and the Color Design eye shadow range.

Yves Saint Laurent remains dynamic in sell-out terms, particularly in men’s fragrances, and its sales should gradually build up throughout the year in view of its launch phasing. Giorgio Armani continued its breakthrough in women’s fragrances with Acqua di Gioia, and is bolstering its leadership in men’s fragrances with Acqua di Giò and Armani Code which will be strengthened as of April with the launch of Armani Code Sport. The strategic launch of the skin care line Régénessence is confirming Giorgio Armani’s expansion in all beauty fields.

Kiehl’s is continuing its global expansion at a very dynamic rate in all zones, thanks to its facial skin care lines. Lastly, according to the company, Biotherm is hitting the headlines with its anti-fatigue line Skin’Ergetic, a major innovation in fresh cosmetics.

In Western Europe, the division’s sales were boosted by Yves Saint Laurent and Kiehl’s, which is improving its geographical presence. In a dynamic North American market, sales trends are extremely favorable, thanks to Lancôme, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren as well as the success of Kiehl’s.

In the new markets, the division’s strong growth is continuing, particularly in China, Hong Kong and South Korea. Lancôme, Shu Uemura, Kiehl’s–which has just been launched in India–and Helena Rubinstein are driving the division’s growth in Asia. Sales are also rising substantially in Latin America, Russia and the Middle East.

The sales of the active cosmetics division at end-March grew by +4.9% like-for-like and +6.7% based on reported figures, thanks to the dynamism of the new markets, particularly Latin America.

La Roche-Posay is continuing its strong growth in the new markets (Brazil, Russia and the Gulf states). Facial skin care is being driven by the launch of Tolériane Ultra, designed for ultra-sensitive and allergic skin, and Substiane [+] for mature skin. Vichy kicked off the year with a major facial skin care initiative, LiftActiv Derm Source, and is expanding its share of the body care market with Nutri-Extra. SkinCeuticals is continuing its global roll-out, and is now arriving in China and Brazil.

Roger&Gallet is successfully continuing its internationalization in Europe, and is now moving into Canada and Brazil, thanks in particular to its latest fragrance Fleur d’Osmanthus.

As the market trend is lackluster in Western Europe, growth is being driven by the new markets, with strong performances in Latin America and Africa, Middle East, as well as by North America.

The full report, including a recap by region, is available from L'Oréal.

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