Lux is back in a big way. Estée Lauder fiscal 2012 sales rose 10% to $9.71 billion. Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation, net sales also increased 10% from a year ago. The company reported a 110 basis point increase in operating margin and net earnings for the year rose 22% to $856.9 million, compared with $700.8 million last year. Diluted net earnings per common share rose 24% to $2.16, compared with $1.74 reported in the prior year.
Freda noted that despite pockets of economic uncertainty around the globe, Lauder's sales growth was broad-based, with strong gains in every geographic region and product category and many distribution channels.
"Financial discipline throughout our company enabled us to bring much of our sales growth to the bottom line. Our operating margin increased 120 basis points to a record 14.2%—exceeding our original forecast—and operating cash flow reached an all-time high of $1.1 billion," he added.
Moving forward, Lauder will continue to focus its efforts and resources in the most promising areas for prestige beauty, including emerging markets, travel retail and digital. At the same time, company executives expect to generate further cost savings and improve profitability.
"While we are positive about our long-term outlook we are cautious of further weakening in certain global markets," said Freda. "Nonetheless, we are confident in our growth prospects and we are extending our financial goals to fiscal 2015 and raising our operating margin target to 15.5% to 16%.”