Last night, the company jacked up expectations further as a move to invest more of its foreign earnings offshore to lower its effective tax rate and bring a meatier trickle to the bottom line.
Avon is now looking to earn $1.70 a share in 2004. Earlier this year, expectations were as low as $1.53, adjusted for a 2-for-1 stock split in the spring. Much has been said about the effects of favorable currency rates on these results. We hear much less about how they are nonetheless the result of a huge push in expanding overseas.
And what can you say about the company's sales force? If you don't think that a tenuous economy helped stir up the entrepreneurial bug to shore up Avon's fleet of 4.4 million sales reps, you're looking at the stars and saying the company's name backwards.
Cosmetics have proven recession-resistant and even therapeutic during times of war. Rivals Revlon
Motley Fool Income Investor subscribers might also like to hear that Avon has a habit of hiking its dividend every year -- a trademark of companies with steadily improving bottom lines. Avon certainly can't be hurting from folks glued to shows like Extreme Makeover and The Swan that rely on a liberal use of cosmetics after the scalpels work the reinvention process. Beauty may be skin deep, but Avon's radiance runs deeper.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz can't recall seeing an Avon lady at his door, but that doesn't mean that he doesn't enjoy trying to say "Skin So Soft" three times fast. Try it! He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story.