Shares of Estee Lauder (NYSE:EL) were looking stunning today after the cosmetics giant turned in another strong earnings report, beating strong guidance for fiscal 2020, after wrapping up the fiscal 2019 year.
Estee Lauder stock finished the day up 12.5%.
The strong fourth-quarter results were just the latest in a long streak for Estee Lauder, which appears to be capitalizing on growth in Asia, the popularity of cosmetics in the age of Instagram, and increasing demand for skin care products. After today's gains, the stock is up 55% year to date, an impressive run for a mature consumer goods giant.
Today, the company showed off 9% revenue growth in the fourth quarter, or 12% adjusting for currency exchange and the new accounting standards, to $3.59 billion, better than estimates at $3.53 billion.
China was again a growth engine for the company, as it's been for several cosmetics makers, and sales in the Asia-Pacific jumped 25% in adjusted terms, driven by China. Europe, the Middle East, and Africa also delivered strong results with adjusted sales rising 18%. In the Americas, however, revenue fell 5% due in part to the challenges brick-and-mortar retailers are facing.
In terms of product category, skin care was a standout performer for the parent of brands including MAC and Tom Ford as adjusted sales rose 18%. The segment also passed makeup as the company's biggest last year, bringing in $6.6 billion in revenue.
Adjusted earnings per share rose from $0.61 to $0.64, easily beating estimates at $0.53.
CEO Fabrizio Freda said, "Fiscal 2019 was an outstanding year for our Company. We achieved strong net sales gains across our business, fueled by investments in our strategic priorities, including improved data analytics that helped power our innovation and digital marketing. Our winning strategy led to continued share gains in global prestige beauty."
Looking ahead, Estee Lauder also gave impressive guidance for fiscal 2020. Management called for revenue growth of 7% to 8% and adjusted earnings per share of $5.90 to $5.98, up from $5.34 last year.
Though Estee Lauder stock looks pricey according to conventional metrics after today's jump, the prestige beauty company is benefiting from a number of secular trends that should continue to drive growth over the foreseeable future.