Apr 20, 2011
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North America helps lift L'Oreal Q1 sales

Apr 20, 2011

April 19 - L'Oreal, the world's biggest cosmetics group, said on Tuesday it was well-positioned to outperform its markets in 2011 after it posted higher sales in the first quarter, helped by North America.

Scarlett Johansson for L'Oreal

The maker of Lancome creams, Yves Saint Laurent lipstick and Garnier shampoo, said its business remained mixed in Europe, where debt-related worries continue to weigh on consumer sentiment, while sales in Japan fell following the earthquake disaster.

L'Oreal generated revenue of 5.16 billion euros ($7.37 billion) in the three months to March 31. Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting sales of 5.106 billion on average.

Sales in North America rose 7.2 percent to 1.12 billion euros on a comparable basis while those in Western Europe grew by 0.5 percent to 1.91 billion, L'Oreal said in a statement.

Revenue in new markets, which include Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, rose 11.6 percent to 1.83 billion euros. L'Oreal added that sales in Japan fell 5.9 percent like-for-like but that it was too early to evaluate the impact on the full year.

The group said in February it expected to beat global cosmetics market growth, seen at 3-4 percent, in 2011 and pledged to lift profits again this year.

France's LVMH said late on Monday that first-quarter sales rose 17 percent as all its business divisions achieved double-digit organic revenue growth.

(Reporting by Matthias Blamont and Pascale Denis; Editing by James Regan)

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