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L’Oréal Shares Edge Higher After Solid Sales And Results

L’Oréal shares rose slightly on Friday after fourth quarter sales figures from the world's biggest beauty company beat forecasts.

L’Oréal shares were up 0.8% by 0805 GMT.

Late on Thursday, Lancome-owner L’Oréal said strong Chinese demand for luxury skin creams had helped it beat sales forecasts in the fourth quarter.

Sales rose 2.8% in that division on a like-for-like basis in the fourth quarter, which strips out currency effects and acquisitions, up from 2.3% a quarter earlier.

For 2018 as a whole, operating profit rose 5.3% to €4.7 billion ($5.3 billion), giving a margin of 18.3% of sales, up from 18% at the end of 2017.

'Best Year Of Growth'

"In a beauty market that accelerated significantly in 2018, L'Oréal marked its best year of growth since 2007, at +7.1%, following a strong fourth-quarter increase of +7.7%,” said chief executive Jean-Paul Agon.

“The performance by geographic Zone remained differentiated. In Western Europe, progress was held back by difficulties in some markets, while growth in North America improved compared with the previous year. The New Markets achieved their best performance since 2007, and the Asia Pacific Zone, driven by China, has now overtaken North America with sales exceeding €7 billion.”

Earnings per share rose 6.5% to €7.08.

"Overall, the results were ahead of expectations on Q4 top-line, but below on H2 margins and earnings per share growth," wrote Andrew Wood, an analyst at brokerage Bernstein.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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