Avon posts first quarter loss of US$147.3m

Avon posts first quarter loss of US$147.3m

The world’s best-known direct cosmetic seller Avon has posted a first quarter loss of US$147.3m, a reduction compared to its first quarter losses during the same period last year.

In 2014, the company posted first quarter losses of US$168.30m or 38 cents per share. Its losses per share for the three months ending March 31 were 33 cents.

The New York based company’s performance missed analysts’ estimates, falling short of Wall Street expectations.

The average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 7 cents per share, but earnings, adjusted for non-recurring costs and pretax expenses, came to just 4 cents per share.

Avon said its revenue fell from US$2.18bn to US$1.79bn, amid declines in all geographic regions and currency pressures that were greater than expected. Five analysts surveyed by Zacks expected higher revenue of US$1.83 billion.

Net cash used during the quarter was US$198m, up from US$113m a year ago. 

The biggest sales decline was in Latin America, which posted a 22 percent drop. North American sales fell 18 percent. Sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa declined 16 percent.

Avon Chief Executive Sheri McCoy commented, “Overall, the first quarter was in line with our expectations despite currency pressures that were greater than anticipated. 

“Continuing on the momentum we saw in the second half of 2014, I’m encouraged to see improvement in our Active Representative trends and constant-dollar revenue growth in the majority of our top markets.”

She added, “Despite continued foreign exchange pressure, I’m really impressed with how well our teams in market are managing in this volatile environment. 

“This is a payoff for the work we’ve done over the past two years on strengthening our talent and improving core processes.”

Avon still expects 2015 revenue to be up modestly from 2014, but said operating margin is now expected to be 2 percentage points lower than previously anticipated because of dollar strength. On a constant currency basis, total revenue edged up 1 percent. The stock shed 5 cents to US$8.62 in premarket trading.

The American international manufacturer in beauty, household and personal care is the fifth-largest beauty company and second largest direct selling enterprise in the world with 6.4 million representatives, but the company has struggled with global sales falling for 5 straight years and North American revenues fell by 18 percent in 2014.

The company posted US$10bn in annual revenue during its last financial year.