September 1, 2010, 2:31 PM

Estée Lauder focuses on international e-commerce

The retailer expects online sales to climb by double digits for the foreseeable future.

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Estée Lauder Cos. Inc. says it expects double-digit online growth for the foreseeable future, in part, from the launch and expansion of international e-commerce sites.

The retailer plans to launch new sites in Brazil, Austria, Denmark, Sweden and Norway this year, as well as add more brand sites in the nine countries where it already has a presence, said Fabrizio Freda, president and CEO, in a recent conference call with analysts.

“To further diversify we set out to generate more than 60% of our sales outside of the United States and this year we already achieved the goal, hitting 62% of total sales,” Freda said. “Our brand has strong organic growth, expanded into more countries and opened overseas doors.”

Estée Lauder, No. 133 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is focusing on China, where its total sales grew 29% in its 2010 fiscal year. For instance, the retailer plans to launch a Mac Cosmetics e-commerce site in January and says it will heavily promote its various lines’ online and offline offerings in TV ads.

“China is growing so fast that it’s planned to be our second-biggest Asia market this year, overtaking Korea,” Freda told analysts.

Focusing on new technologies, such as mobile commerce, has produced significant results, he said. For example, about half of the retailer’s online visits and sales in Japan came from mobile devices.

Estée Lauder also plans to expand its U.S. online foothold, with plans to launch Spanish language e-commerce sites for its Clinique, Mac Cosmetics, Estée Lauder and Bobbi Brown brands.

“With the digital universe growing in importance, we will continue strengthening our many capabilities in this area, ranging from e-commerce to mobile commerce and online advertising to social media engagement,” Freda said.

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