Estee Lauder Swings to Loss and Cuts Up to 3% of Jobs

Estee Lauder swung to a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and expects to cut as many as 2,000, or 3%, of its jobs worldwide.
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Estee Lauder on Thursday posted a wider-than-expected fourth-quarter loss and said it planned to cut as many as 2,000, or 3%, of its jobs as the cosmetics giant struggles to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic shutdown.

Shares of the New York company at last check were down 8.2% to $195.07.

Estee Lauder reported a net loss of $462 million, or $1.28 a share, compared with net income of $157 million, or 43 cents, in the year-earlier quarter. The adjusted loss came to 53 cents a share, wider than a FactSet survey's call for a 16-cent loss.

Sales totaled $2.43 billion, down from $3.59 billion a year earlier and short of FactSet's forecast of $2.45 billion, as Covid-19 forced store closings worldwide.

During the pandemic, the demand for skin-care and hair-care products has been more resilient than the demand for makeup and fragrance.

Online sales growth accelerated in every region, the company said.

In addition, Estee Lauder said that it expects to eliminate about 1,500 to 2,000 positions globally, or as much as 3% of its current workforce including temporary and part-time employees.

The company also said it expected to close 10% to 15% of its freestanding stores globally, as well as certain less-productive department-store counters.

Estee Lauder said nearly all its retail stores in the Asia-Pacific region have reopened. Many stores closed for most of February through April.

Retail stores in the Europe-Middle East-Africa region have been gradually reopening through June. About 15% of the stores are still closed.

In the Americas, about 20% of stores remained closed by the end of June. Estee Lauder said it had been able to obtain raw materials and components as needed during the pandemic.