Sales: $10.7 billion for the year ended June 30, 2015.
Key Personnel: Fabrizio Freda, president and chief executive officer; John Demsey, executive group president; Carl Haney, executive vice president, global research & development, corporate product innovation, package development; Leonard A. Lauder, chairman emeritus; Ronald S. Lauder, chairman, Clinique Laboratories; William P. Lauder, executive chairman; Sara E. Moss, executive vice president and general counsel; Michael O’Hare, executive vice president, global human resources; Gregory F. Polcer, executive vice president, global supply chain; Cedric Prouvé, group president, international; Tracey T. Travis, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Alexandra C. Trower, executive vice president, global communications.
Major Products: Cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances. Prestige and Makeup Artists—Estée Lauder, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Tom Ford, MAC, Prescriptives, Jo Malone, Smashbox, Clinique, Origins, Glamglow, Ojon; Fragrances—Aramis, Tommy Hilfiger, Kiton, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, American Beauty, Flirt!, Coach, Ermeneglido Zegna; Skin Care—GoodSkin, Grassroots, Lab Series; Salon and Pharmacy—Aveda, Bumble and Bumble, Darphin, Dr. Jart.
New Products: Estée Lauder—Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery PowerFoil Mask, Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Foam, Advanced Night Micro Cleansing Balm, Nutritious Vitality 8 Radiant Energy Lotion, Genuine Glow priming moisture balm and eye balm, Revitalizing Supreme Light global anti-aging crème oil-free, New Dimension firm + fill eye system, New Dimension tighten + tone neck/chest treatment, New Dimension plump + fill expert lip treatment; Pure Color Envy lipstick and eyeshadow; Estée Edit by Estée Lauder. Clinique Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush, Clinique Smart custom-repair serum, Clinique Pop Lip Color and Primer, Beyond Perfecting foundation and concealer, and Chubby Stick sculpting products; Origins—Original Skin. Aerin—Rose de Grasse; Jo Malone—Wood Sage & Sea Salt; Michael Kors—Gold fragrances; Aveda—Tulasara skin care. Acquisitions: Rodin olio lusso, Le Labo, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle and GlamGlow. To be launched: Victoria Beckham color cosmetics, Selena makeup collection.
Comments: One of Estée Lauder’s goals is to stay ahead of the competition; if the prestige beauty market is growing, say, 4-5% a year for the next few years, then Lauder is gunning for 6-8% top line growth. That goal and others like have enabled Lauder to grow to nearly twice the size of its nearest competitor. But by that measure, 2015 was a disappointing year for the company, as corporate sales fell nearly 2% in fiscal 2015—in contrast, prestige beauty sales rose 8% in Europe, 14% in North America and 26% in South America, according to NPD Group data.
The decline was due, in large part, to disappointing skin care sales, which fell 6% to $4.4 billion. The company blamed the decline on lower sales of Estée Lauder and Clinique products, which were partially offset by gains at LaMer. Fragrance sales fell as well, dipping 1% to $1.4 billion, but that decline was blamed entirely on currency fluctuation. The good news? Makeup sales rose 2% to $4.3 billion driven by high demand for lipstick as well as the ongoing strength of the Tom Ford and Smashbox brands. Hair care sales increased 3% to $530 million.
Despite the overall sales decline, company executives are confident about the future, noting that global prestige beauty trends will be shaped by two demographic groups—Millennials (15 to 35) and Ageless Consumers (50+). Estée Lauder, they argue, has the brands and the formulas to appeal to both age groups.
By product category, skin care accounted for 42% of sales, followed closely by makeup (40%), fragrance (13%) and hair care (5%). By region, the Americas accounted for 42% of sales, with Europe the Middle East and Africa at 38% and Asia/Pacific 20%.
For the nine months ended March 31, sales rose 4% to $8.6 billion and net earnings rose 9% to more than $1 billion. Skin care was the only category to slip through the first three quarters of fiscal 2016. But even that decline was minimal as sales dipped less than 1% to $3.4 billion. Meanwhile, makeup sales surged nearly 9% to more than $3.5 billion, fragrance sales gained 7% to $1.1 billion and hair care sales rose 5% to $410 million.
Those results are good, but they aren’t strong enough to stop Estée Lauder from implementing Leading Beauty Forward, a cost-saving plan that calls for a 2.5% cut in staff, or about 900-1,200 positions. Leading Beauty Forward is expected to reduce costs, reduce the company’s brand and restructure corporate functions. At the same time, the company will invest in new products, social media, communications and other forms of advertising. The initiative is expected to boost sales anywhere from $200-300 million before taxes.
Last month, Aveda rolled out Tulasara advanced performance skin care featuring products, rituals and spa treatments. In Sanskrit, Tulasara means moving toward balance, and is inspired by Ayurveda.