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April 1, 2010

Avon’s Sales Surge 13% in Fourth Quarter

Avon Products, Inc. reported that fourth quarter sales jumped 13% to $3.2 billion. Active representatives grew 11% with growth in all regions. Beauty sales in the fourth quarter grew 15% driven by gains in fragrance, color cosmetics and personal care of 11%, 27%, and 19%, respectively.

Units sold increased 4% in the quarter, and beauty units were up 5% versus a year ago, the company said.

“We are very pleased with Avon’s performance in the fourth quarter. Against the backdrop of the global economic crisis, our growth strategy to leverage our smart-value product offering and representative earnings opportunity paid off to deliver robust active representative growth and beauty market share gains in the quarter,” said Andrea Jung, Avon’s chairman and chief executive officer. “We are especially pleased that revenue growth was broad-based across our geographic portfolio.”

Fourth quarter net income increased more than 15% to $269 million.

Full-year 2009 total revenue declined 3% to $10.4 billion. Total beauty sales were down 3%. Active representatives grew 9% with growth in all regions. Units sold increased by 3% and beauty units increased by 4% versus a year ago.

The Recession Lingers for Unilever

Unilever reported a 24% fall in fourth quarter net profit Thursday and predicted tough competition and consumer spending constraints in the current year.

“We expect continued pressure on consumer spending power and heightened levels of competitive activity in 2010,” said chief executive officer Paul Polman.

Unilever said net earnings in the final three months of 2009 came to $1.27 billion as lower prices offset increased volumes.

Sales were down 4.8% from a year earlier to $13.5 billion, falling short of analyst forecasts of $13.8 billion.

Operating profit fell 33% to $1.3 billion although the same year-earlier period included exceptional gains of $855 million.

For the year, Unilever’s net profit fell 31% to $5.1 billion and sales slipped 1.7% to $55.7 billion.

Revenue Jumps 19% at Nu Skin

The future is looking bright for Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. The company posted favorable record fourth-quarter and annual results. Revenue for the quarter rose 19% to $378.1 million. The company generated record annual revenue of $1.33 billion in 2009, a 7% improvement over the prior year.

“We finished our 25th anniversary year on a high note with record revenue, a record launch of our new skin care system, and a record number of executive distributors,” said Truman Hunt, president and chief executive officer. “Each region is contributing to our growth, with particularly strong double-digit gains in South Korea, the Americas, China, Southeast Asia and Europe.”

Sales Rise at Alberto Culver

Alberto Culver Company’s first quarter sales increased 2.9% to $363 million for the manufacturer and marketer of beauty care brands.

Commenting on the results, Alberto Culver’s president and chief executive officer V. James Marino said, “While the hair care category remains soft, trends are slowly beginning to improve and we continue to gain market share. Sales growth was particularly strong in our international segment, even with a very strong performance in the prior year quarter.”

Inter Parfums Posts 13% Increase in Q4 Sales

It’s all about the power of “B” at Inter Parfums, Inc.— Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic and Bebe, that is. All three brands contributed to a rise in sales last year. Fourth quarter net sales increased 13% to $113.6 million.

“We are extremely pleased by the turnaround in the second half of 2009. Comparable fourth quarter sales were off only slightly from the fourth quarter of 2008,” explained chairman Jean Madar.“As expected, second half comparisons were considerably better than the first half due to new product launches for Brooks Brothers, Banana Republic, the debut of bebe fragrance in both domestic and international markets and the introduction of a New York & Company scent. Work is underway on additional products and expanded distribution, and hopefully we may have new specialty retail agreements for 2010.”

PZ Cussons Reports First Half Results

PZ Cussons Plc—maker of Carex body products and Charles Worthington hair care—said revenues rose 0.7% to $597.4 million for the six-month period ended Nov. 30, 2009. The company’s household and toiletries business recorded sales of $462.9 million during that period.

“The group has delivered a strong performance in the first half despite the economic environment remaining fragile,” noted chairman Anthony Green.

J&J’s Consumer Product Sales Fall 1.6% in 2009

Johnson & Johnson’sglobal consumer product sales fell 1.6% to $15.8 billion in 2009, with operational growth of 2.0% and a negative currency impact of 3.6%. Primary contributors to the operational growth recorded by its consumer business included Neutrogena, Aveeno and Dabao skin care products and international sales of Listerine, the company said.

On the corporate level, global fourth quarter sales rose 9% to $16.6 billion, while full-year sales fell 2.9% to $61.9 billion.