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American Beauty

Estée Lauder C.E.O. Fabrizio Freda with Jane and Ronald Lauder.
Estée Lauder C.E.O. Fabrizio Freda with Jane and Ronald Lauder. Photo: Kyle Blair/WireImage
Lauren Sherman
November 2, 2023

On Wednesday, Estée Lauder Companies reported first-quarter earnings that fell short of investor expectations, with sales down 10 percent to $3.5 billion, triggering the stock to drop more than 24 percent. In December 2021, ELC was trading at $370 per share. Today, it’s around $113 per share, and some insiders speculate that it could fall to as far as $70. 

During the past two years, Estée has blamed the macro environment for its troubles—in particular, the slower-than-expected return of Chinese consumers. The problem with that thesis, however, is that many of Estée’s competitors are thriving. While L’Oreal is challenged by China, too, with sales down 15 percent in the region in the last quarter, its overall numbers are up, and in line with investor expectations.