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Elizabeth Arden reflects on difficult quarter

This article was originally published in The Rose Sheet

Executive Summary

Weakness in consumer and retail environment in North America and Europe caused Elizabeth Arden's net sales to drop 4% to $210.6 mil. for third quarter, resulting in net loss of $2.9 mil., firm reports May 1. Company's North American business was down 4%, with mass business decreasing 2.2% and U.S. department store business plunging 16%. "While we were not expecting any improvement in the retail environment this past quarter in North America, we did not anticipate the extent of the negative retail sales trends," Chairman and CEO E. Scott Beattie says. International sales - up 20% last quarter - slipped 3.8% in Q3 due to softness in UK, which is one of firm's strongest markets for fragrance (1"The Rose Sheet," Feb. 11, 2008, p. 8). Decrease was partially offset by gains in Asia-Pacific region and in travel retail, which rose 8% for the quarter. Arden's greater China business advanced 36%. Firm expects Asia Pacific, developing markets and travel retail to continue to offset softness in North America and developed European markets, with help from a "solid" pipeline of new brands...

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