L'Oreal full year results live up to expectations

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent Europe

Global giant L'Oreal says that growth in the Western European
market, combined with strong levels of activity in North America
and new markets has helped to give a big boost to its fourth
quarter results, pushing the full year financials in line with
expectations.

The company said that fourth quarter sales grew by 12.2 per cent and 8.5 per cent on a like-for-like basis, helped along by a 6.1 per positive impact from currency fluctuations. It did not reveal the precise quarterly sales figure.

The quarterly result meant that full year sales up to December 31 came in at €14.53 billion - a rise of 6.5 per cent and 4.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

These figures were largely in line with market expectations and the company's predictions, having predicted sales growth of between 5 - 6 per cent back in October last year.

L'Oreal CEO Lindsay Owen said: "Western Europe returned to growth and shows a positive result for the year. North America and the other regions of the world continued to advance at a rapid pace. Furthermore, the strengthening of the main currencies against the euro led to a positive exchange rate effect in the fourth quarter."

Once again it was the company's active cosmetics division that notched up the highest growth rate. In the final quarter it accounted for a 13.5 per cent leap in like-for-like sales, and 15.3 per cent over the full year, reflecting the increasing interest in anti-ageing and multifunctional products.

The slowest performance was witnessed in the luxury product division, where like-for-like sales growth of 5.2 per cent was reported in the fourth quarter and 2.7 per cent over the full year.

On a regional basis, sales started looking up in the mainstay Western European market, with fourth quarter like-for-like sales rallying enough to record a respectable 2.5 per cent growth. Reflecting tougher trading earlier on in the year, this figure came in at 0.1 per cent for the full 12 months, rounding off the year with sales of €6.74 billion.

In Eastern Europe the market is still developing rapidly, helping the company to realize its biggest regional growth rates. For the final quarter, like-for-like sales growth stood at 28.7 per cent, whereas for the full 12 months it came in at 28.5 per cent to reach €682 million.

Despite the hyper-competitive picture in the North American retail market, L'Oreal managed to realise like-for-like sales growth of 5.5 per cent for the fourth quarter and 6.4 per cent for the full year to reach €3.86 billion.

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