Retail

Estee Lauder cuts profit forecast, blames Hong Kong and China

Key Points
  • Shares of Estee Lauder fell 2.5% in premarket trading as the company said it expects 2020 adjusted profit between $5.85 and $5.93 per share, down from a prior range of $5.90 to $5.98.
  • The cosmetic company cited an array of political and economic risks including ongoing protests in Hong Kong, the drama of Brexit and slowing growth in China.
  • Overall, net sales climbed 11% to $3.90 billion. Excluding items, Estee Lauder earned $1.68 per share.
An Estee Lauder cosmetics counter in Los Angeles, California, August 19, 2019.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

Estee Lauder cut its forecast for full-year profit on Thursday, citing an array of political and economic risks including ongoing protests in Hong Kong, Brexit and slowing growth in China.

Shares in one of the cosmetics world's biggest names fell 2.5% as the company said it expects 2020 adjusted profit between $5.85 and $5.93 per share, down from a prior range of $5.90 to $5.98.

The company beat analysts' expectations for both revenue and adjusted profit in its first quarter ending Sept. 30, but said that it was mindful of, among other risks, moderating growth in China, where it has been expanding by double digits.

Luxury goods companies and retailers have felt the pinch from months of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong that have forced some shops to close temporarily, and kept tourists away from one of the world's most vibrant shopping destinations.

Without giving a figure, the company said net sales from Hong Kong, which makes up just under 4% of its global business, had fallen in the first quarter.

Another sore spot for the M.A.C brand owner was its Americas business, which was pressured by weaker customer traffic at brick-and-mortar stores as customers shift to online shopping and buying at specialty beauty shops. Sales in the market fell 6%.

Overall, net sales climbed 11% to $3.90 billion. Excluding items, Estee Lauder earned $1.68 per share.

Analysts on average had expected a revenue of $3.85 billion and adjusted profit of $1.60 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitv.