L’Oreal Q1 sales rise 13%, lifted by U.S., Europe

L'Oreal Q1 sales rise 13%, lifted by U.S., Europe
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of French cosmetics group L’Oreal in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, France, February 7, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) -L’Oreal reported a 13% rise in first quarter sales, beating expectations thanks to strong business in the United States and Europe as shoppers shrugged off rising prices, but said it had not benefited yet from the end of COVID-19 curbs in China.

Sales of the French cosmetics group, which sells brands ranging from Maybelline to Lancome, came to 10.38 billion euros ($11.37 billion) over the first three months to the end of March.

The 13% increase on an organic basis beat analyst expectations for 8.1% growth according to a consensus estimate cited by Barclays (LON:).

Sales in Europe and North America grew by 16% and 16.6% respectively, with the company flagging a strong performance from its consumer products, which has been moving upmarket, as well as its dermatological beauty division, which sells CeraVe skincare.

In mainland China, where the company said luxury sales were flat due to low inventories, consumer demand and store traffic resumed from February.

Earlier this month, L’Oreal agreed to buy Australian luxury brand Aesop for an enterprise value of $2.53 billion, its largest brand acquisition to date, with an eye to international expansion, including in China.

($1 = 0.9127 euros)

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