© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A cosmetic exhibition by French cosmetics company L & # 39; Oreal can be seen in a duty-free shop at Nice International Airport in Nice, France
PARIS (Reuters) – L & # 39; Oreal (PA 🙂 sales increased in July for the first time since January, CEO Jean-Paul Agon said on Friday, showing a more optimistic tone for the rest of the year with signs of a turnaround in China .
Temporary store closings and depressed demand during the coronavirus pandemic ban resulted in a more-than-expected 18.8% drop in comparable sales in the second quarter, said the Maybelline and Lancome brand owners.
A recovery in China, L & # 39; lreal's largest market, and booming online sales of skin care products and hair tones in other markets, which continued to flourish even after retailers reopened, would help improve earnings, the company said.
L & # 39; Lreal's shares rose 1.3% by 0837 GMT after falling in early trading.
"The world is unlikely to be locked in a similar way to the first half of the year, and businesses will likely remain open," Agon said in a conference call with analysts.
L & # 39; Oreal was hit when department stores temporarily closed their doors and duty-free shopping at the airport fell off a cliff during the height of the coronavirus barriers.
Make-up sales were particularly hard hit as consumers stayed at home but buyers still bought some cosmetics online and stocked up with other products. L & # 39; Oreal's e-commerce sales accounted for a quarter of all sales, after just under 16% at the end of 2019.
Agon said L & # 39; Oreal cut costs by freezing staff and reducing travel costs and cutting some store expenses. This included makeup test displays that consumers did not use during the crisis.
However, the company continued to plan to invest in marketing campaigns, including online, to encourage new product launches in the second half of the year, Agon said.
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