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Bare Escentuals posts solid Q4 results

SAN FRANCISCO Bare Escentuals, a maker of mineral make up, posted solid fourth quarter results and expects to continue its momentum in 2008 by expanding its product offering and access to products both domestically and abroad.

“Bare Escentuals produced a solid quarter in an exceptionally difficult retail environment, demonstrating the strength of its brand and the loyalty of its customer base,” stated SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst William Chappell in a research note.

Net income for the quarter totaled to $27 million, or 29 cents per diluted share, compared with $16.3 million, or 18 cents per share in the year-ago period. The current quarter’s earnings per share exceeded analyst expectations by one penny and were two cents above the Street mean.

Sales for the quarter were $144.6 million, up about 31 percent from $110.5 million in the year-ago period.

For fiscal 2008, the company reaffirmed its guidance of sales growth of between 20 percent and 25 percent and diluted earnings per share of between $1.13 and $1.18.

“We note that the company did, however, raise its expected door count from 750 to 780 by the end of 2008 as several initiatives are running ahead of schedule. We are maintaining our 2008 estimate of $1.19 as we believe the guidance is overly conservative. Additionally, we are maintaining our 2009 estimate of $1.48,” added Chappell.

Among the new initiatives: The beauty company will be testing in 10 department stores in the U.K. with four different retailers. Testing is expected to begin in the spring. Chappell believes that similar testing will be the norm for the company going forward as it looks to expand its presence in markets such as Japan, Germany and France.

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