L'Oréal's global sales rose in 2008, but the heady days of double-digit gains are long gone. The company reported sales rose 2.8% last year to $22.5 bilion, while net earnings increased 3.8% to $2.51 billion.
"In an environment made very difficult in 2008 by the economic crisis, L'Oréal is proving resilient and is continuing to grow in terms of sales, net earnings per share and market share," said Jean-Paul Agon, chief executive officer, L'Oréal.
Sales rose in Eastern Europe and Asia, but were flat in Europe and declined in the U.S. Still, Mr. Agon remains optimistic in the face of a downturn.
"We are tackling 2009 with realism, confidence and resolve. Realism because the economic environment will certainly still be difficult and we are prepared for this. Confidence because the cosmetics market has always shown resilience at times of crisis, and because L'Oréal's fundamentals are strong and our financial situation is robust," he insisted. "But also resolve, because thanks to our product innovation momentum, the unique quality of our brand portfolio, our possibilities for geographic expansion and our determination to strengthen our business drivers and control our costs, we are confident in L'Oréal's ability to successfully weather this adverse economic climate and to even emerge stronger than before.”