Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the world’s wealthiest woman, has witnessed a remarkable surge in her net worth, soaring from $80.5 billion at the beginning of the year to a staggering $92.1 billion. This impressive gain is largely attributed to the exceptional performance of her global beauty empire, L’Oréal Paris.
According to Forbes, L’Oréal’s stock price has experienced a remarkable year-to-date increase of 27.08%, with a notable 11% rise in recent months. This surge is a testament to the company’s robust financial performance, driven by a solid upswing in third-quarter sales.
Europe and the United States have been key contributors to L’Oréal’s success. The company achieved growth rates of 16.2% and 11.8% in these regions, respectively, indicating an acceleration in North America. Despite inflationary pressures affecting household spending in Europe, L’Oréal has not observed any significant shift towards lower-priced products or reduced purchasing.
However, L’Oréal’s growth in North Asia has fallen short of expectations. The company experienced a 4.8% dip in sales in the region, missing the anticipated 14.4% increase. This decline is attributed to heightened Chinese government control over resellers, known as daigou, which has impacted L’Oréal’s travel retail business, particularly in Hainan and South Korea.
Despite this challenge, L’Oréal remains optimistic about its prospects in China. The company reported a 7.7% sales growth over the initial nine months in mainland China, maintaining market share amid a “broadly stable” beauty market and a “muted recovery.” L’Oréal has outlined plans to expand labels like Lancome into lower-tier cities in the coming year, demonstrating its continued ambition for the Chinese market.
L’Oréal’s luxury division, which leads the high-end cosmetics sector with renowned brands such as Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, and Prada, experienced a slower growth rate of 3.2%. This trend aligns with a broader observation of consumers scaling back on high-end purchases, as evidenced by the recent slowdown in perfumes and cosmetics reported by luxury benchmark LVMH.
Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, granddaughter of L’Oréal’s founder, and her family own approximately 33% of L’Oréal’s stock. She has served on L’Oréal’s board since 1997 and holds the position of chairwoman within the family holding company. Her ascent as France’s primary L’Oréal heiress occurred in 2017, succeeding her mother Liliane Bettencourt, who held the title of the world’s wealthiest woman until her passing at the age of 94.
Beyond her corporate roles, Bettencourt Meyers also serves as the president of her family’s philanthropic foundation, dedicated to advancing French achievements in the sciences and arts.
In conclusion, L’Oréal’s stellar performance has not only propelled Francoise Bettencourt Meyers to new heights of wealth but also reaffirmed the company’s position as a global leader in the beauty industry. While challenges remain, L’Oréal’s strong brand portfolio, innovative product development, and expansion strategy position it well for continued success.