Estee Lauder 4th quarter earnings up 72%, high end brands register double digit growth

U.S. beauty giant Estee Lauder reported this week its 4th quarter earnings were up 72% thanks to strong sales at airports and U.S. department stores and in emerging markets.  

The company, which portfolio includes Clinique, MAC, Jo Malone and Tom Ford said Monday that its net income was US$41.1 million, up from $23.9 million. Its revenue rose 12 percent to $2.06 billion from $1.84 billion and topped analysts’ average forecast for $2.02 billion.

By region, the company’s revenue rose 10 % in the Americas, 13 % in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and 16 % in Asia Pacific, driven by 33 % growth in China. Estee Lauder’s North America results were the best in a decade due to strong sales in U.S. department stores, said CEO Fabrizio Freda.

Luxury shoppers have recovered faster than others from the recession, and Freda said this trend is continuing. "Our high-end brands enjoyed double-digit growth as the luxury consumer has been shopping enthusiastically again," Freda said during a call with analysts.

Skin care was the strongest during the quarter, with revenue up 15 percent to $3.72 billion. Makeup sales rose 13 percent to $3.37 billion. Fragrance revenue rose 9 percent to $1.24 billion. Hair care rose 4 percent to $432.3 million.

During the fiscal year the company will "aggressively pursue growth in emerging markets and distribution," Freda said. "We have strong momentum that we will support with higher investment spending, and intend to continue to gain share globally and increase profitability."