Estée Lauder has reported a surprise rise in second-quarter sales and handily beat profit estimates, as the company benefited from a strong demand for its premium skin-care products and fragrances in China.
A sustained strong demand for skin-care products, including serums and moisturisers, from customers keeping up their self-care routine has helped Estée Lauder offset the impact of weak demand for traditional make-up items such as foundation and lipsticks.
"The powerful engines of skin care, fragrance, Asia/Pacific, travel retail in Asia, and global online fuelled our performance despite the increasing complexity of the pandemic," Chief Executive Fabrizio Freda said.
Sales in its Asia-Pacific market rose 35% in the second quarter, boosted by a robust demand during Tmall's Singles' Day shopping event in China, helping Estée Lauder post its first growth in overall revenue since the onset of the pandemic.
The Clinique brand owner has been controlling its advertising and promotional costs, while focusing on its e-commerce business to combat the pandemic's fallout on its brick-and-mortar stores.
Share Buyback Programme
Estée Lauder also said it planned to resume its share buyback program during the second half of the fiscal year.
Net sales rose to $4.85 billion from $4.62 billion a year earlier, beating a Refinitiv IBES estimate of $4.49 billion.
Excluding items, Estée Lauder earned $2.61 per share, much higher than analysts' estimate of $1.69.
The company, however, forecast third-quarter net sales to grow between 13% and 14% as makeup sales drag, while analysts on average estimate net sales to rise about 15.3% to $3.86 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.