Forbes, the global business media company, has named Francoise Bettencourt Meyers as the richest woman in the world for the second year in a row. The granddaughter of the founder of L’Oréal, she has a net worth of US$74.8 billion and owns 33 per cent of L’Oréal’s stocks.

Her dominance of the female billionaire rankings looks set to continue. L’Oréal has posted Q1 revenues of 9.06 billion euros (AU$13.45 billion) – a 19 per cent increase over the same period last year.

The world’s largest beauty company outperformed global beauty market growth of 8 per cent for the three months ended March 31st by a wide margin. According to Nicolas Hieronimus, CEO of L’Oréal – “This quarter, again, we can say that we are beating the market growth in every division and in every region”.

The L’Oréal Luxe division continued to be a star performer with sales rising 17.5 per cent to 3.46 billion euros (AU$5.13 billion). Power brands such as YSL Beauty, Giorgio Armani, Prada and Valentino all outstripped the overall prestige beauty market.

Major growth in the US, Germany, India and China fuelled a 17.6 per cent rise in the Professional Products division to 1.04 billion euros (AU$1.54 billion).  Haircare brands including L’Oréal Professionnel, Kerastase, Matrix and Redken were the main drivers of the turnaround.

The Active Cosmetics division, including La Roche-Posay, CeraVe and SkinCeuticals, was again a standout with double digit growth for the first quarter of 18 per cent to 1.25 billion euros (AU$1.85 billion), gaining market share in every region.

L’Oréal’s largest division, Consumer Products, includes L’Oréal Paris, Garnier and Maybelline New York, and battled supply chain issues during Q1. But an acceleration in global makeup sales and strong launches such as L’Oréal Paris Hyaluron Plump shampoo and conditioner, Garnier SkinActive Fast Bright and Maybelline New York Colossal Curl Bounce mascara helped to boost results by 6.9 per cent.

All geographic zones enjoyed significant sales increases over the first quarter – Europe (+16.4%), North America (+12.6%), North Asia (+9.4%), South Asia-Pacific, Middle East, North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa (+15.8%) and Latin America (+22.2%).

There was a strong revival of in-store sales worldwide in the first three months of the year, but L’Oréal’s e-commerce sales also grew strongly to represent 25.8 per cent of total global sales.

The multinational remains bullish for the rest of the year, forecasting 4 to 5 per cent annual growth.

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