July 16, 2013 / 4:31 PM / 4 years ago

L'Oreal second-quarter sales growth slightly below forecasts

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L'Oreal cosmetic and beauty products are seen in a hairdresser shop in Nice, southern France, November 5, 2008.Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) - French cosmetics giant L'Oreal (OREP.PA) posted a 5.2 percent rise in second-quarter like-for-like sales on Tuesday, slightly below forecasts, and pointed to improved trading at its underperforming hair salon products unit.

The maker of Garnier shampoo and Yves Saint Laurent perfume said market growth slowed in the first half, as anticipated, but reiterated its target to grow profits and sales in 2013.

Analysts had expected L'Oreal to post quarterly like-for-like sales growth of around 5.5 percent, roughly in line with the previous three months.

L'Oreal said its division catering to hair salons was still suffering, particularly in Southern Europe.

But trends at the business improved overall, it said, helping sales rise 2.7 percent on a like-for-like basis in the three months to June 30, against no growth in the first quarter.

"The professional products division, still held back by a difficult market, is picking up slightly," L'Oreal Chief Executive Jean-Paul Agon said in a statement.

L'Oreal's luxury products, which include Armani perfume and Lancome creams, saw growth slow to 5.5 percent on a like-for-like basis, down from 7.2 percent in the first quarter.

Reporting by Astrid Wendlandt; Editing by James Regan

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