Estée Lauder has reported a 16% increase in total net sales to $3.86bn for the quarter ending 31 March, compared to $3.35bn in the same period a year earlier.

Net earnings for the quarter were $456m, compared with a net loss of $6m in the prior-year period.

Diluted net earnings per common share (EPS) was $1.24, compared with a loss of $0.02 a year earlier. Adjusted diluted EPS increased by 88%.

The company’s sales and earnings growth exceeded expectation, although the business experienced the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in several markets.

Estée Lauder noted that net sales increased in every region and in most product categories.

The company’s total reported operating income was $616m, up by 64% from $109m in the same quarter of the previous year.

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During the quarter, the majority of its brick-and-mortar retail stores were open, mainly in China and the US.

Several of its stores stayed temporarily closed, particularly in the UK, Japan, Canada, Italy, Spain, France, Mexico and Brazil.

Consumer traffic has been severely hit in many travel retail locations due to flight restrictions and health concerns.

The Estée Lauder Companies president and chief executive officer Fabrizio Freda said: “We exceeded our sales and earnings expectations, even as several markets experienced increasing pressure from Covid-19 throughout the quarter.

“Our growth engines of skincare and fragrance were incredibly powerful. Sales rose in every region, led by double-digit growth in Asia and the Pacific, where many markets contributed and sales growth in mainland China accelerated.

“Online thrived as a growth engine, with sales having increased strong double-digits around the world, and Travel Retail excelled. Estée Lauder, La Mer, Jo Malone London, Clinique and Tom Ford Beauty led the robust performance of many brands in our portfolio.”

Estée Lauder has forecast its fourth-quarter sales to increase by 44% to 50% in constant currency. It expects a fourth-quarter EPS of between $0.38 and $0.48.