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Aging Boomers Boost Beauty Stocks

Stocks in this article: ULTA EL RDEN

Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) just reported its quarter in November and also reported increased sales. The company delivered earnings of 31 cents per share versus last year's earnings of 17 cents per share. Sales are forecast to grow 4.5% to 7% in the next quarter.

Big hits are fragrances by Brittany Spears, Taylor Swift and even Elizabeth Taylor. New initiatives are coming for international markets, which could lead to more growth. CEO Scott Beattie said recently, "Looking forward, despite the uncertain economic environment globally, we remain confident that our identified initiatives to drive sales increases across our brand portfolio and improve margins will result in strong cash flow and earnings growth for fiscal 2012." The stock is up 59% for the past year.

Estee Lauder (EL) had beautiful results for the last quarter seeing net profits rising to $1.40 a share versus last year's 95 cents per share. The European consumer hasn't slowed down at all with a sales growth of 26% in the region. It's a similar story in the United States, where department store sales of prestige products are up 11%. Macy's is Estee Lauder's largest customer and it racked up a 4% increase in same-store sales in its latest quarter.

Estee Lauder is reducing costs and working to turn its underperforming brands around. The stock is up 44% for the past year and pays a dividend of $1.05 per year.

Revlon (REV) reported a slump in third-quarter income, but it was mostly due to setting aside money for taxes. Nonetheless, the stock sold off as a result, but now Revlon has the lowest price-to-sales ratio in the group.

Revlon is beginning to see the results of a new marketing chief it brought on in September as well as a focus on international markets to offset any U.S. weakness. However, it was the U.S. sales that rose 11% this past quarter, while international sales fell. Revlon is still up 45% for the past year, but it may not perform as well as its competitors.

Avon (AVP) has been soundly beaten by its cosmetic peers, giving it the most opportunity to return value. Mark Astrachen of Stifel Nicolaus calls it a show-me story. Avon's story is a Brazilian story. Growth in consultants in Brazil is the key to Avon's share price.

The company said the reason Brazil had slowed in growth recently was because of promotion timing and service disruptions. Astrachen believes Avon can "right the ship" and that bearish sentiment regarding Avon is unfounded. Only one third of the analysts covering Avon believe it's a buy, although the average target price is $21 and the stock is only trading at approximately $16 a share. It has dropped 42% for the past year.

-- Written by Debra Borchardt in New York.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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