The Estee Lauder Companies (ELC) reports its earnings per share rose 14% to $1.16 on 7% sales growth. The company's net sales for the second quarter ended December 31st, 2012 of $2.93 billion, is a 7% increase compared with $2.74 billion in the prior-year quarter. Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, net sales also increased 7% from a year ago.
These results were delivered against a 10% local currency sales increase in the prior-year quarter and continued softness in certain markets, particularly Southern Europe and Korea. The Company reported a 50-basis-point increase in operating margin and net earnings for the quarter rose 13% to $447.5 million, compared with $396.7 million last year. Diluted net earnings per common share rose 13% to $1.13, compared with $1.00 reported in the prior year.
Fabrizio Freda, president / CEO, ELC, said:
"Our performance this quarter reflected the global appeal of our brands in all regions. These results demonstrate our ability to continue to grow, on top of the double-digit trends we generated in the prior year, even in the face of macro-economic headwinds and challenges in certain international countries. Organic sales growth for the quarter was in line with our expectations, while earnings per share exceeded our forecast."
Freda continued, "We began the second half of our fiscal year by successfully launching another wave of our Strategic Modernization Initiative in early January, a key driver to achieving additional long-term efficiencies. Our recent increased strategic marketing spending behind key innovations and existing winning products in countries with good momentum should help drive sales growth in coming months. We expect continued solid growth in the U.S., many emerging markets and e-commerce and improving trends in travel retail. For the full fiscal year, we are re-affirming our sales growth forecast of between 6% and 7% in local currency, while raising our earnings per share guidance to $2.51 to $2.59."