BEAUTY CARE

Revlon announces improved Q1 financials

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK Revlon announced on Thursday that it narrowed its first-quarter loss as it gears up for the launch of several new products, including the new Revlon Beyond Natural collection for eyes, lips and face.

Net loss during the quarter ended March 31 totaled $2.5 million, or nil per diluted share, compared with a loss in the year ago period of $35.2 million, or 7 cents per share. Operating income was $32.5 million compared with $3 million in the year-ago period. Adjusted EBITDA was $58.1 million versus $32.2 million last year.

Operating income, net loss and adjusted EBITDA in the current quarter included a net gain of $6 million related to the sale of non-core trademarks. Operating income, net loss and adjusted EBITDA in the first quarter of 2007 were reduced by $4.3 million due to restructuring charges and included a benefit of $4.4 million from the reduction of lease liability to the consolidation of office space in New York.

Revlon attributed the improvement in operating income, net loss and adjusted EBITDA during the current quarter to lower SG&A expenses, as the first quarter of 2007 included significant brand support expenses related to the launch of Revlon Colorist hair color.

Net sales decreased 2.5 percent to $320.4 million compared with net sales of $328.6 million in the year-ago period. In the United States, net sales decreased 8.3 percent to $177.2 million.

“Our strong financial results for the first quarter of 2008 build upon our performance in 2007. These results continue to validate our strategy, and we remain focused on increasing the value of our company by building the Revlon brand,” stated David Kennedy, Revlon president and chief executive officer.

The beauty company noted that, in the United States, its Revlon Custom Creations foundation and Revlon ColorStay Mineral foundation were ranked in the ACNielsen top 10 new products (by retail dollar sales) in the first quarter, and three new Almay product launches were in the top 20, namely, Almay TLC Truly Lasting Color makeup and Almay Intense i-Color mascara and eye shadow.

For the second half of 2008, the company will be launching several new products under the Revlon and Almay brands. New launches include:

  • Revlon Beyond Natural: A collection for face, eyes and lip that includes a smoothing primer, a skin matching makeup, a concealer and highlighter in a single compact, a cream-to-powder eye shadow, a defining eye pencil, mascara, cream lip gloss and a protective lip tint.
  • Revlon ColorStay Mineral Lipglaze that promises to last up to eight hours and is an extension of the Revlon ColorStay mineral face and eye collection.
  • Revlon Lash Fantasy Total Definition Mascara: A relaunch of the Lash Fantasy mascara.
  • Crush on Color: A summer 2008 collection of 13 new and on-trend shades that will be introduced into the Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick and lip gloss, Revlon ColorStay 12-hour eye shadow and Revlon nail enamel.
  • Almay Bright Eyes Collection: A three-product collection of eye base and concealer, eye shadow and eye liner/highlighter duo.
  • Almay Smart Shade Concealer, which is another extension of the Smart Shade line.
  • Almay TLC Truly Lasting Color Pressed Powder: A long-wear makeup that incorporates skin care benefits.

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Trower to join Estee Lauder as vp of global communications

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK The Estee Lauder Companies has hired Alexandra Trower as executive vice president of global communications, reporting to chief executive officer William Lauder.

In her new role, Trower will direct the overall communications strategy at The Estee Lauder Companies. She will oversee the four specialties of global communications—brand communications, corporate communications, internal communications and consumer communications. In addition, she will counsel senior corporate executives, brand presidents and others throughout the global organization on communications issues and events, while working closely with investor relations.

Previously, Trower was senior vice president of media relations for Bank of America. Before that she was a managing director at JPMorgan Chase. She also spent 10 years at Chancellor LGT Asset Management, now part of Invesco, where she was vice president of corporate communications.

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P&G sees increase in quarterly net sales year-on-year

BY Antoinette Alexander

CINCINNATI Procter & Gamble released on Wednesday solid quarterly results driven in part by cost control and Gillette synergy benefits.

“This quarter is yet another demonstration of the power of P&G’s product category and geographic diversification and disciplined focus on cash and cost productivity,” stated A.G. Lafley, chairman and chief executive officer. “P&G delivered strong results in-line with long-term targets in a challenging economic and competitive environment with broad-based sales and share growth, earnings growth and overhead cost improvement.”

Net sales totaled $20.46 billion, up 9 percent compared with the year-ago period.

Net earnings totaled $2.7 billion, or 82 cents per share, compared with $2.5 billion, or 74 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Operating profit was up 13 percent as a result of higher net sales and improved operating margin. Operating margin was up 60 basis points as a reduction in overhead spending as a percent of net sales more than offset higher commodity and energy costs.

SG&A expenses were 31.2 percent of net sales, an 80 basis point improvement versus the year-ago period because of lower overhead spending as a percent of net sales. Overhead spending improved as a result of increased productivity, Gillette synergies and scale leverage. Marketing spending was up 9 percent, in-line with net sales growth.

In beauty, net sales rose 9 percent to $4.7 billion. Volume was up mid-single digits in hair color behind the Nice ‘N Easy Perfect 10 launch and in cosmetics behind the CoverGirl Lash Blast mascara initiative. Retail hair care volume was up mid-single digits as high-teens growth on Head & Shoulders and double-digit growth on Rejoice were partially offset by a decline on Pantene in North America. Net earnings in beauty were down 2 percent to $589 million as the impact of higher net sales was more than offset by higher commodity costs and base period gains from minor Wella fragrance brand initiatives.

Grooming net sales rose 13 percent to $2 billion behind 6 percent volume growth and a 7 percent favorable foreign exchange impact. Price increases taken across premium shaving systems added 2 percent to net sales. Product mix had a negative 2 percent impact on net sales as favorable mix from growth on Fusion was more than offset by a negative mix impact from disproportionate growth in developing regions. Blades and razors volume was up high-single digits behind double-digit volune growth in developing regions on the successful expansion of Fusion and the launch of Venus Embrace in North America.

Fusion will deliver more than $1 billion in net sales this fiscal year, making it P&G’s 24th billion-dollar brand and the fastest ever to reach this milestone, including Mach3, according to P&G.

Net earnings in grooming were up 30 percent for the quarter to $403 million behind higher net sales, lower overhead spending and a more profitable product mix.

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