Analyst Note| Rebecca Scheuneman, CFA |
Estee Lauder’s fiscal 2021 organic constant-currency sales grew 9% to $16.2 billion, missing our $16.5 billion estimate, as an increasing number of COVID-19 cases resulted in another round of store closures across Europe, Latin America, and Asia (excluding China). Even so, fiscal 2021 sales are 6% above fiscal 2019 revenue (adjusted for acquisitions), supported by Estee’s ability to pivot to e-commerce, which increased to 28% of fiscal 2021 sales, compared with 15% in 2019. The travel retail channel has remained surprisingly resilient, which increased to 29% of fiscal 2021 sales, versus 23% in 2019. While international travel is largely curtailed, domestic trips have been strong, particularly in China’s Hainan province. Other factors that helped the firm return to prepandemic sales levels despite continued store closures are Estee’s strong brands (which underpins its wide moat rating) and the firm’s expertise in developing compelling new products, with innovations representing 30% of fiscal 2021 sales, well above the 15% targeted by many consumer products companies. Skin care is well above prepandemic levels, but makeup continues to lag, as mask mandates curb demand. But the firm has promising innovations and marketing programs lined up that it will rollout as mandates relax.