Fragrance, North America Sales Help Buoy Elizabeth Arden Financial Results

Elizabeth Arden, Inc. announced financial results for its second fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2012. For the quarter, the company reported net sales of $467.9 million, an increase of 8.8% as compared to the second quarter of the prior fiscal year. Excluding the unfavorable impact of foreign currency translation, net sales increased by 9.1%.

In North America, net sales increased 8.4% for the quarter and 13% fiscal year-to-date. The company's fragrance portfolio continued to add market share, with both prestige and mass retailers gaining 2.15% and 2.1%, respectively. Sales growth was driven by the recently acquired brands, new launches, including Justin Bieber's Girlfriend, Pink Friday Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift Wonderstruck Enchanted, which all ranked among the top fragrance launches in U.S. prestige department stores for the holiday season, and growth in existing pillar fragrance brands. Performance at prestige retailers was strong with a number of the company's key existing brands as well, with the largest retail sales increases posted by the Juicy Couture, John Varvatos and Curve fragrances. Net sales of Elizabeth Arden branded products decreased 6% for the quarter and 6.5% fiscal year-to-date in North America. In terms of retail sales, overall retail sales at Elizabeth Arden counters in North America were flat, with the Company's recently converted Elizabeth Arden flagship counters increasing 24% year over year since conversion through the end of December.

Internationally, net sales grew 11% (constant rates) for the second fiscal quarter and 10% (constant rates) fiscal year-to-date. Net sales of fragrances increased 14% (constant rates) for the first six months, behind the company's Western European fragrance initiative. As a result, fragrance sales in Europe grew 18% (constant rates) during the same period. Net sales of Elizabeth Arden branded products grew 10% (constant rates) for the second quarter and 7% (constant rates) for the first half of the fiscal year. As for retail sales performance, retail sales of Elizabeth Arden products at international flagship doors increased by 9% since conversion, reflecting later conversion dates as compared to the flagship doors in North America.

E. Scott Beattie, chairman, president and CEO of Elizabeth Arden, Inc., commented, "Second quarter sales and earnings were up solidly from the prior year, with strong retail sales performance within our North America and International businesses. Nonetheless, our net sales results were below original guidance due to lower than forecasted sales in department stores as well as softer than anticipated holiday sales at one of our major mass retail accounts. Despite strong sales growth among many of our global affiliates, international net sales were impacted by lower than expected inventory replenishment in our travel retail business and weakness in greater China."

Beattie continued, "Over the course of the past few months, we successfully completed the conversion of our Elizabeth Arden flagship doors and are very excited with the momentum of sales increases. The flagship model was established as a way for us to test, learn, and gather feedback on the repositioning of the Elizabeth Arden brand as well as build confidence in the growth potential of the brand with our key retail partners. Flagship counters in the North American markets were converted earlier this fall, with all door conversions complete by the end of October. U.S. flagship doors delivered 24% year-over-year retail sales growth from conversion through the end of December, well in excess of the U.S. prestige category which grew 5% for the second quarter.

"The timing of the conversion of international flagship doors was staggered across the quarter due to retailer constraints. International flagship doors delivered 9% retails sales growth from conversion, reflecting later conversion dates as compared to the flagship doors in North America, and are gaining momentum by the week. The most recent weeks have achieved retail sales growth of 23%. Given our early success, we plan to extend key elements of the flagship model to the next tier of approximately 200 doors globally during the remainder of fiscal 2013 and drive sales growth behind the roll out of new products for our international markets during the second half of the fiscal year," Beattie concluded.

For the six months ended December 31, 2012, the company reported net sales of $812.5 million, an increase of 10.8%, as compared to the prior year period. Excluding the unfavorable impact of foreign currency translation, net sales increased by 12%.

Based on the retail trends year-to-date and the seasonally slower fragrance market in the second fiscal half, Elizabeth Arden is reducing its second half revenue and earnings guidance. For the full fiscal year ending June 30, 2013, the company currently expects net sales to increase by 9–11%, assuming an expected unfavorable impact from foreign currency of approximately 0.5%, as compared to the prior year period, and for earnings per diluted share (adjusted) to be in the range of $2.30–2.50.

More information on this revised financial report is available here.

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