Retail in Asia

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L’Oréal sales hurt by ‘muted recovery’ in mainland China, ‘reset’ in Asia travel retail

L’Oréal reported sales for the first nine months of 2023 totalled EUR 30.57 billion (USD 32.42 billion), up 12.6 percent like-for-like, or 9 percent on a reported basis, as the French beauty giant saw slower-than-anticipated sales growth in Asia.

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L’Oréal North Asia sales grew 1.3 percent like-for-like for the nine months ending September 30, yet declined 4.1 percent on a reported basis. North Asia continued to be impacted by the “reset” in travel retail in the region following the change in policy regarding daigous, said the company.

Despite the “muted recovery” in mainland China, L’Oréal kept its pace, growing 7.7 percent like-for-like and gaining “significant” market share across all divisions, with growth “dynamic in all categories. Resumption of tourist activity in Hong Kong drove “buoyant momentum,” while in Japan, L’Oréal significantly outperformed a dynamic market, driven by consumer products and L’Oréal luxe.

Professional Products advanced strongly in North Asia, driven by premium haircare, notably Kérastase – as did L’Oréal dermatological beauty, thanks to Skinceuticals, as well as La Roche-Posay and CeraVe.

The consumer products division maintained its pace thanks to L’Oréal Paris in skincare and haircare and 3CE Stylenanda in makeup. L’Oréal luxe continued to outperform the market, particularly in premium skincare thanks to Helena Rubinstein and Takami. Couture brands like Yves Saint Laurent and the recently launched Prada Beauty also contributed. Offline and online channels both contributed to growth in the region, the company continued.

In South Asia Pacific, Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa (SAPMENA-SSA), L’Oréal clocked growth of 23.6 percent like-for-like, and 15.6 percent reported.

In SAPMENA, L’Oréal continued to grow in double digits, driven by both, volume and value. All categories and divisions contributed, with skincare the key growth contributor, driven by the consumer products division and L’Oréal dermatological beauty with CeraVe leading the way.

Makeup recovered to pre-pandemic levels, while fragrances recorded strong growth across all brands and countries. All countries in the region reported double-digit like-for-like growth: the Australia-New Zealand cluster, as well as India and Thailand were the top-three contributors, concluded L’Oréal.

“I am very proud of the performance of our teams in the first nine months. The beauty market remains exceptionally dynamic, and L’Oréal continues to outperform and reinforce its global leadership,” said Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO of L’Oréal.

Despite the slower than expected recovery of the beauty market in mainland China and the reset in Asian travel retail, L’Oréal kept its double-digit pace. We did so thanks to our broad-based regional footprint, our successful innovation pipeline, and our agility to rapidly allocate investment to the areas where we see the highest growth.

“In a context of continued economic and geopolitical uncertainty, we remain confident in our ability to keep outperforming the market and achieve in 2023 another year of growth in sales and profits. We are optimistic about the outlook for the beauty market and remain ambitious for the future,” concluded Hieronimus.