Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Estee Lauder Makes Huge Workforce Cut Due To Changing Demand In China Market

REUTERS

Estee Lauder  plans to cut 3% to 5% of its global workforce as the cosmetics giant expands an effort to shore up margins squeezed by Chinese customers cutting back on higher-priced luxury products, sending its shares up as much as 19%.

A boom following the lifting of pandemic curbs in China never materialized and recent results have indicated mixed luxury demand. While companies like LVM and Richemont have posted strong sales growth, others like Burberry have flagged a sluggish rebound. Estee witnessed “a small reduction in market share” during the second quarter in China, CEO Fabrizio Freda said on an analysts call.

Some analysts have pointed to higher youth unemployment, a lingering property crisis and a shift to local brands for the challenges facing global brands.

“There are a lot of local Chinese brands that have emerged. Many of them are of decent quality, and Chinese consumers are more willing than before to try these products and embrace them,” said Javier Gonzalez Lastra, luxury-focused portfolio manager at Tema ETFs.

Organic net sales in the Asia-Pacific region fell 7% during the reported quarter, Estee said, while overall margins dipped 60 basis points.

Estee expects incremental operating profit between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion from the efforts in fiscal years 2025 and 2026, up from $800 million to $1 billion it had estimated earlier. The company said it may record between $500 million and $700 million in charges before taxes.

JULIE KIM

US ASIA JOURNAL

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