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L'Oreal's Q2 sales rise less than expected as North America weakens

PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) - Maybelline maker L'Oreal on Tuesday posted weaker-than-expected sales growth in the second quarter, as revenues fell in North America and its mass market division remained sluggish.

The group is benefiting from strong demand across Asia and especially in China, but western Europe and the United States have lagged behind in recent quarters.

Overall, the French cosmetics group reported a 9.8% sales increase on a reported basis to 7.26 billion euros ($8.1 billion) for the April to June period, with like-for-like revenues, which strip out currency swings, up 6.8%. Analysts had expected comparable sales to rise by around 7.4%.

L'Oreal also said it would carry out share buybacks in the second half of 2019 for up to 750 million euros, adding it planned to cancel the shares acquired. ($1 = 0.8969 euros) (Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)