That sales boost came in at a respectable 9%. Even excluding currency effects, sales still rose 7.5% -- that's good to see, since top-line growth has been weak for some time. And while the company's $0.02-per-share loss was better than Wall Street's expectation of going $0.07 in the hole, well, a loss is still a loss.
Don't get me wrong. These results are indeed a marked improvement, but it would have been hard for Revlon to do any worse than it has been. Despite the higher revenue, the company is still losing ground to competitors. Market share in its cosmetics business fell 2.5%, to 19.5%, with both the Revlon and Almay brands losing ground. Market share for its beauty-tools business, meanwhile, fell 2.7%, to 24.3%. This downward pattern has been going on for quite a while now.
Management likes to focus our attention on adjusted EBITDA and away from its bottom line. This is a non-GAAP measure, and the company calculates it by taking its net loss and adding back depreciation and amortization, interest expense, and income taxes, and excludes any foreign currency gains or losses, as well as miscellaneous items. With this approach in mind, the company reaffirmed its $210 million forecast for the year. However, considering its market-share losses, I wonder whether it will have to increase marketing expenditures to avoid further erosion. If it does, that could cause a shortfall down the road.
So we did see a few positives in this quarter, but one quarter does not a trend make. Revlon still faces a host of formidable competitors, including Maybelline -- a division of L'Oreal (OTC BB: LRLCY.PK) -- and consumer giant Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), proud owner of the Cover Girl and Max Factor brands, which fight for shelf space in the same stores. What's more, the company still has about $1.6 billion of debt on its balance sheet, and that situation doesn't leave Revlon much room for error. If the company successfully gets things moving, there will still be plenty of money to be made by jumping in later. But I advise passing on these shares for now, until we see solid evidence of just such a turnaround.
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Fool contributor Larry Rothman is happy to receive feedback, and he promises to read it when he's not being wrestled by his three children. He doesn't have any positions in the companies mentioned.