Aug 8, 2015
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Elizabeth Arden: 4Q loss, but namesake brand sales grow

Aug 8, 2015

Elizabeth Arden, the famous American cosmetics group, owner of the eponymous brand and of celebrity fragrances such as Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Nicki Minaj, has released its financial results for the fourth quarter ending June 30th.

Adjusted sales came out at $188.7 million, a 6.2% decline compared to the same period last year. However, the decrease was limited to 0.7% at constant foreign currency rates. Adjusted EBITDA was still in the red, with a loss of 16.4 million, a slightly better performance compared with a loss of 24.8 million for the same period last year, but below market expectations.

Sales of Elizabeth Arden branded products have been heavily impacted by foreign currency variations. There were down 2% during the period, but rose 7% at constant rates. Sales of non Elizabeth Arden branded products suffered quite a bit and dropped 9%.

The change in distribution strategy as well as improved distribution control seems to be paying off in China, and international markets continue to show impressive growth levels (+15% at constant currency rates).

Negative news came mainly from the North American market, with a 14% decrease in sales, severely affected by the fall in non Elizabeth Arden branded products, due to limited innovation in the fragrance segment and low sales levels of celebrity fragrances at retailers such as Wal-Mart.

For the fiscal year, adjusted sales came out at 999.3 million, a 14.9% drop compared to fiscal year 2013-14, and the adjusted EBITDA was null, versus 47.4 million one year earlier.

For the 2015-16 fiscal year that started in July, management expects an increase in adjusted net sales, fueled by the progression of international markets and by the continued development of Elizabeth Arden branded products, as well as an improved EBITDA performance, which should benefit from the combination of cost savings and a better sales mix.

E. Scott Beatie, CEO of Elizabeth Arden, declared that "this is the second consecutive quarter of sales growth for the Elizabeth Arden brand (…). This gives us confidence as we head into the launch of the new Elizabeth Arden brand marketing campaign this fall, which is accompanied by a richer innovation pipeline."

These results have been released in a context of intense restructuring for the American cosmetic brand created in 1910 by Elizabeth Arden, and management changes, with the recent nominations of Jue Wong and Joel Ronkin, respectively in charge of the Elizabeth Arden brand and Global Fragrances.

Lionel Tixeire

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