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Estée Lauder travel-retail sales up 23% in Q3 2007/08

Beauty supplier Estée Lauder Companies has announced net sales have risen 11% to $1.88bn in the three months ended March 31 compared with the previous corresponding period. Net earnings for the quarter fell 4% to $90.1m compared with $93.9m last year. The company’s travel-retail division “continued its strong performance” and was up 23% on last year.

Estée Lauder CEO William Lauder said: “As a result of the size of the business and its excellent growth rate, travel-retail continues to be a major contributor to the company. Our slate of products made exclusively for the travel-retail channel did exceptionally well and have become a critical component of the business. In addition, the number of international travellers has been growing mid-to-high single digits with an even greater percentage coming from emerging markets. Although airport stores represent the bulk of industry sales, downtown locations in Asian cities, border stores in Latin America and shops on cruise ships have shown accelerating growth.”

Lauder added that in the nine months ended March 31 travel-retail sales were up 21%. “Our biggest travel-retail market is certainly Europe, followed by Asia, smaller in the Americas,” he explained. “Based on our results to date we remain confident that we are on track to meet our previously announced full fiscal year sales and earnings objectives and are comfortable narrowing our earnings per share range to $2.34 and $2.40 for the 2008 fiscal year.”