L'Oréal posted sales of €15.8 billion for the 2006 fiscal year, an increase of 8.7% on the previous year, and a 6.5% increase in fourth quarter revenue on an organic basis after a rebound in its North American unit. Sales to the North American market, which had been turbulent due to retailer/distributor de-stocking across the three largest of the company's four main distribution channels, rose 3.6% in the last quarter.
"The strong growth of our sales at the end of the year enabled us to achieve the announced growth target for 2006," said Jean-Paul Agon, CEO, L'Oréal. "This growth was achieved thanks to the renewed dynamism in Western Europe and the remarkable performance in the new markets, particularly in Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico and China. The Body Shop delivered a good second half performance, strengthening the group's growth. Overall, the organic growth of our brands and the significant contribution made by the acquisitions led to a strong increase in the group's sales of 8.7%. These good figures mean that we can confirm our profit targets."
The professional products division recorded a like-for-like growth rate of 3.8%, with positive scores in Western Europe and very strong expansion in the "Rest of the World" zone. The consumer products division achieved a like-for-like growth rate of 5.8%, with a substantial acceleration in the fourth quarter at 6.5%. L'Oréal Paris' strong performance was due, according to the company, to strong growth in skincare thanks to Age Re-Perfect and Men Expert as well as in makeup and in hair care with the successful launch of Elsève Nutri Gloss.
The sales of the luxury products division have risen by 5.1% like-for-like, and the dynamic growth trend of the fragrance business is continuing, and the new fragrance for women Code Donna from Giorgio Armani continued to prove successful in Europe at the end of the year. The brand's flagship products Armani, Acqua di Giò and Armani Code confirmed their solidity over the Christmas period.
The growth in active cosmetics sales continued, with a substantial advance in like-for-like sales of 12.2%, reflecting strong contributions from all the geographic zones. Innéov achieved strong sales growth, and the certified organic cosmetics brand Sanoflore joined the Division in November 2006.