Earnings

L'Oreal shares fall, performance at consumer products arm underwhelm some analysts

Key Points
  • L'Oreal shares were down by 1.5% in early session trading, the worst performing stock on Paris' SBF-120 index.
  • L'Oreal said sales reached 7.6 billion euros ($9.10 billion)in the three months to March, up 10.2% on a like-for-like basis stripping out the effects of acquisitions and currency moves.
VIDEO2:4302:43
China is a 'great growth story' for L'Oreal, CEO says

Shares in French cosmetics group L'Oreal fell on Friday, as some analysts expressed disappointment at figures from the company's consumer products division, despite overall strong group results.

L'Oreal shares were down by 1.5% in early session trading, the worst performing stock on Paris' SBF-120 index.

L'Oreal said sales reached 7.6 billion euros ($9.10 billion)in the three months to March, up 10.2% on a like-for-like basis stripping out the effects of acquisitions and currency moves.

In response to the market reaction to the results, CEO Jean-Paul Agon said that while some analysts might have expected "an even bigger miracle from us, we cannot always deliver miracles."

L'Oreal's consumer products division, which also sells brands including Maybelline, lagged other units, due to its high exposure to make-up, where demand is sluggish compared with other categories like skincare.

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L'Oreal CEO: Europe needs more stimulus like in the U.S.

"Not to like are the inter-related challenges of ongoing weak Consumer & Western Europe, the only division and zone that remain in negative like-for-like territory. But an encouraging start overall," wrote investment bank Jefferies.

On the plus side, Agon said L'Oreal had started to see make-up demand bounce back in countries where vaccination programs had made real progress, such as Israel, Australia and even the U.S., in the past couple of weeks.

"So we are very confident that this division will bounce back very, very surely in the next quarters," he told CNBC's Charlotte Reed.

One bright spot in the first-quarter results, was that L'Oreal had seen its sales rise nearly 38% in China. Agon said L'Oreal saw China "this year and probably for many more years as a great growth story" for the business.

CNBC's Vicky McKeever contributed to this report.