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PARIS – L’Oréal’s full-year 2019 profits declined 3.7 percent, dented by exceptional items, while the group ended the last decade with its best year of sales gains since 2007.
The world’s largest beauty company, in a release published Thursday after the close of the Paris bourse, said it expects to register sales and profit growth for full-year 2020, despite coronavirus concerns.
L’Oréal noted that the Asia-Pacific region had become the group’s largest geographic zone, and that its e-commerce sales were up 52.4 percent, comprising 15.6 percent of overall sales.
The company's chairman and chief executive officer Jean-Paul Agon in the statement extended his thoughts to “the people of China in their battle against the coronavirus epidemic, and we want to convey our deepest solidarity with them. We are fully supportive and united with our Chinese teams, and are carefully monitoring the situation. We trust the Chinese authorities to take effective measures to best contain this epidemic.”
Agon continued: “This context will have a temporary impact on the beauty market in the region, and therefore on our business in China and travel retail Asia, even if it’s too early to assess it.
“The experiences we have had with similar situations in the past — SARS, MERS, etc. — show that, after a period of disturbance, consumption resumes stronger than before,” he added. “Therefore, at this stage, and assuming this epidemic follows a similar pattern, we are confident in our capacity this year again to outperform the beauty market and achieve another year of growth in both sales and profits.”
L’Oréal’s statement came a few hours after the Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. said Thursday that it had sharply lowered guidance, due to the coronavirus outbreak, which began in Wuhan, China.
L’Oréal, the maker of Lancôme, Garnier and Kiehl’s products, reported full-year net profits of 3.76 billion euros. Its fourth-quarter sales gained 11.4 percent in reported terms to 7.88 billion euros. On a like-for-like basis, company sales were up 9.6 percent in the period.
By geographic zone in the quarter, Asia-Pacific registered 33.3 percent sales growth in reported terms to 2.75 billion euros. Western Europe rang up 2.14 billion euros and North America, 1.87 billion euros.
For full-year 2019, L’Oréal sales advanced 10.9 percent in reported terms and 8 percent on a like-for-like basis to 29.87 billion euros.
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