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The Estee Lauder Companies (EL) Gains 38% in a Year: Here's Why

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Growing Skin Care sales and the online business are favoring The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (EL - Free Report) . The company’s robust presence in emerging markets and cost-saving efforts are encouraging.

Owing to the upsides, shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company have gained 38.3% in the past year compared with the industry’s 0.4% growth. Also, the stock has comfortably outpaced the Zacks Consumer Staples sector’s growth of 7.4%.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.


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Skin Care Business Holds Promise

The Estee Lauder Companies’ Skin Care portfolio has been performing well for a while now. In first-quarter fiscal 2022, brands like La Mer and Clinique witnessed solid growth in the skincare portfolio. This was backed by product offerings and innovations. Other brands within the skincare portfolio also continued to perform well.

In the quarter, the Skin Care category’s sales were up 20% year over year (up 18% at constant currency) to $2,449 million. Management expects to keep witnessing solid growth in the Skin Care category in fiscal 2022.

Online Business: A Key Driver

The Estee Lauder Companies has a strong online business. It expects the same to be a major growth engine for the upcoming few years. The company has been implementing new technology and digital experiences, including online booking for each store appointment, omni-channel loyalty programs and high-touch services. The initiatives and the company’s digital-first mindset have been aiding its online sales.

Moreover, The Estee Lauder Companies' brand teams have been fully committed to enhancing consumer experiences online since the initial coronavirus outbreak. In this regard, they have been focusing on proper product placement and showing case tools, including virtual try-on to ease decision-making.

Apart from these, management has been on track to expand brand presence across various third-party sites, rolling out digital payment technologies and enhancing its loyalty programs as it continues to widen market reach.

Solid Presence in Emerging Markets

The Estee Lauder Companies has a strong presence in the emerging markets, which bode well. The company derives significant revenues from emerging markets like Thailand, India, Russia, and Brazil, which encourage it to make distributional, digital, and marketing investments in these countries. In first-quarter fiscal 2022, sales in the Asia Pacific region increased 15% (up 11% at cc) to $1,326 million, mainly driven by growth in Mainland China and Korea.

Mainland China is a major area of focus for The Estee Lauder Companies. The company is expanding its footprint in specialty-multi and freestanding stores alongside increasing advertising expenditure to drive growth across the region. It is making investments to cater to demand from consumers in China and Asia.

To this end, the company bought Korea-based skincare brand Dr. Jart in 2019. Also, it is on track to open its end-to-end innovation center in Shanghai inthe second half of fiscal 2022. Further, management is building a state-of-the-art production unit near Tokyo, which is likely to start operations in the same year.

Wrapping Up

The Estee Lauder Companies’ cost-saving efforts along with the aforementioned upsides keep it well-placed for growth in the cosmetics industry. We note that uncertainties related to COVID-19 led management to implement stringent cost-curtailment practices. In addition, the company has been benefiting from cost-saving initiatives like Leading Beauty Forward as well as the post-COVID business acceleration program.

More Consumer Staple Bets

Some other top-ranked companies are Helen of Troy Limited (HELE - Free Report) , Nu Skin Enterprises, Inc. (NUS - Free Report) and United Natural Foods (UNFI - Free Report) .

Helen of Troy, the developer and distributor of a portfolio of consumer products worldwide, currently sports a Zacks Rank #1. Shares of HELE have gained 6% in the past year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Helen of Troy’s current financial year’s sales suggests growth of 0.8% from the year-ago reported figure. HELE has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 19.1%, on average.

Nu Skin, which develops and distributes personal care and wellness products worldwide, currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. Shares of NUS have dipped 6.4% in the past year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Nu Skin’s current financial year’s sales suggests growth of 3.7% from the year-ago reported figure. NUS has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 16.6%, on average.

United Natural Foods, the leading distributor of natural, organic and specialty food and non-food products in the United States and Canada, carries a Zacks Rank #2 at present. Shares of UNFI have surged 104.4% in the past year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for United Natural Foods’ current financial year’s sales suggests growth of 4.8% from the year-ago reported number. UNFI has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 35.4%, on average.