Estee Lauder and Elizabeth Arden cut profit views

NEW YORK Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:13am EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cosmetics makers Estee Lauder Cos Inc (EL.N) and Elizabeth Arden Inc (RDEN.O) warned of disappointing quarterly profits and slashed their full-year outlooks, citing weak sales over the holiday shopping period.

The forecast results, which fell short of already-lowered expectations, sent Estee Lauder shares down 14 percent and Elizabeth Arden shares down 22 percent.

Estee, which makes Clinique, Origins and M.A.C. cosmetics in addition to its namesake brand, said on Friday that it expects to report a 6 percent sales decline in the fiscal second quarter ended on December 31, versus anticipated growth of 2 to 3 percent.

As a result, Estee expects quarterly earnings of 75 cents to 82 cents per share, down from a prior forecast of 97 cents to $1.05.

Estee forecast fiscal 2009 earnings of $1.30 to $1.60 per share, down from its previous forecast of $2.20 to $2.50 per share.

For its fiscal second quarter, which is in sync with Estee's, Elizabeth Arden forecast earnings of 57 cents to 61 cents per share, excluding expenses.

Excluding both expenses and a 15 cent-per-share hit from foreign currency fluctuations, profit will range from 72 cents to 76 cents per share. That compares with the company's forecast for earnings of $1.00 to $1.10 per share, excluding a currency impact of 11 cents per share.

Elizabeth Arden, which makes perfumes, makeup and other skincare products, forecast profit of 1 cent to 13 cents per share for the second half of the fiscal year ending June 30.

For the full fiscal year, Arden expects earnings of 94 cents to $1.07 per share, excluding a currency impact of 23 cents per share. This is down from a prior forecast of $1.50 to $1.75 per share, excluding an 8 cent-per-share hit from currency.

Estee Lauder shares were down $4.13 at $24.90 on the New York Stock Exchange, while Elizabeth Arden shares were down $2.53 at $9.04.

(Reporting by Martinne Geller, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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