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The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. reported net sales of $2.17 billion for the third quarter ended March 31, 2011, a 16% increase compared with $1.86 billion reported in the prior year. Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, net sales increased 15% from a year ago. The company reported net earnings for the quarter of $124.7 million, compared with $57.5 million in 2010.
"Our results for the quarter and year to date continue to validate our strategic direction," said Fabrizio Freda, president and CEO, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. "Our broad and well differentiated portfolio of brands, product categories and geographies gives us the flexibility to take advantage of opportunities in stronger environments to compensate for challenges that may arise in other areas of the world. This is reflected in our results this quarter across our brands, regions and channels."
During the quarter, the company's performance was better than anticipated, due to stronger overall business, particularly from the company's largest brands, as well as from a weaker U.S. dollar. The company posted strong across-the-board sales gains in its geographic regions and major product categories. Sales also increased in all major product categories within each region. These results reflect solid increases from higher-margin product launches and the positive impact of more effective advertising spending.
During the balance of the fiscal year, the company expects to significantly increase global advertising spending on new initiatives and impactful product launches, and net sales are now forecasted to grow between 10% and 11% in constant currency.
On a product category basis, in constant currency, skin care and makeup are expected to be the leading sales growth categories, followed by fragrance and hair care. Geographic region net sales growth in constant currency is expected to be led by Europe, the Middle East & Africa, followed by the Americas and Asia/Pacific.