Avon’s mascara is running; it has lipstick smeared on its teeth; its nail polish is, frankly, a disaster. Could there really be a beauty under there?
Nothing in the third-quarter numbers published by the direct-sales cosmetics company on Thursday indicated that turnaround efforts are taking hold. Sales excluding currency impact were up by 1 per cent, but operating profit, even after restructurings and impairments are put aside, fell nastily in every region. North America is making operating losses as a sales force reorganization grinds on there. Sales at Avon’s small China operation, also undergoing a reboot, dropped by a third. The dividend was cut by three-quarters, even more than expected.