Estee Lauder Companies Inc. (The)
10-K on 08/28/2020   Download
SEC Document
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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
(Mark One)
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2020
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
For the transition period from          to          
Commission file number 1-14064
The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
11-2408943
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
767 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York
10153
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code 212-572-4200
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Trading
Symbol(s)
Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A Common Stock, $.01 par value
EL
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes  No 
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes  No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes  No 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer 
Accelerated filer 
Non-accelerated filer 
Smaller reporting company 
Emerging growth company 
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. 
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes  No 
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant was approximately $45 billion at December 31, 2019 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter).*
At August 20, 2020, 225,569,212 shares of the registrant’s Class A Common Stock, $.01 par value, and 135,235,429 shares of the registrant’s Class B Common Stock, $.01 par value, were outstanding.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Document
Where Incorporated
Proxy Statement for Annual Meeting of
Stockholders to be held November 10, 2020
Part III
* Calculated by excluding all shares held by executive officers and directors of registrant and certain trusts without conceding that all such persons are “affiliates” of registrant for purposes of the Federal securities laws.


Table of Contents
THE ESTÉE LAUDER COMPANIES INC.
INDEX TO ANNUAL REPORT ON FORM 10-K
  Page
 
 
 
 
 


Table of Contents
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information and Risk Factors
This Annual Report on Form 10-K includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include our expectations regarding sales, earnings or other future operations, financial performance or liquidity, our long-term strategy, restructuring and other initiatives, product introductions, geographic regions or channels, information technology initiatives and new methods of sale. Although we believe that our expectations are based on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of our knowledge of our business and operations, we cannot assure that actual results will not differ materially from our expectations. Factors that could cause actual results to differ from expectations are described herein; in particular, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information.”  In addition, there is a discussion of risks associated with an investment in our securities, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors.”
Unless the context requires otherwise, references to “we,” “us,” “our” and the “Company” refer to The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. and its subsidiaries.
PART I

Item 1.  Business.
The Estée Lauder Companies Inc., founded in 1946 by Estée and Joseph Lauder, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of quality skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products. Our products are sold in approximately 150 countries and territories under a number of well-known brand names including: Estée Lauder, Clinique, Origins, M·A·C, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Aveda, Jo Malone London, Too Faced and Dr. Jart+. We are also the global licensee for fragrances, cosmetics and/or related products sold under various designer brand names. Each brand is distinctly positioned within the market for cosmetics and other beauty products.
We believe we are a leader in the beauty industry due to the global recognition of our brand names, our leadership in product innovation, our strong position in key geographic markets and the consistently high quality of our products and “High-Touch” services. We sell our prestige products through distribution channels that complement the luxury image and prestige status of our brands. Our products are sold on our own and authorized retailer websites, on third-party online malls, in stores in airports, in duty-free locations and in our own and authorized freestanding stores. In addition, our products are sold in brick-and-mortar retail stores, including department stores, specialty-multi retailers, upscale perfumeries and pharmacies and prestige salons and spas. We believe that our strategy of pursuing selective distribution strengthens our relationships with retailers and consumers, enables our brands to be among the best-selling product lines at the stores and online, and heightens the aspirational quality of our brands.
For a discussion of recent developments, see Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Results of Operations – Overview.
The discussion of our net sales and operating results is based on specific markets in commercially concentrated locations, which may include separate discussions on territories within a country. For segment and geographical area financial information, see Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data – Note 22 – Segment Data and Related Information.
We have been controlled by the Lauder family since the founding of our Company. Members of the Lauder family, some of whom are directors, executive officers and/or employees, beneficially own, directly or indirectly, as of August 20, 2020, shares of Class A Common Stock and Class B Common Stock having approximately 86% of the outstanding voting power of the Common Stock.

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Products
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Skin Care - Our broad range of skin care products addresses various skin care needs. These products include moisturizers, serums, cleansers, toners, body care, exfoliators, acne care and oil correctors, facial masks, and sun care products.
Makeup - Our full array of makeup products includes lipsticks, lip glosses, mascaras, foundations, eyeshadows, nail polishes and powders. Many of the products are offered in an extensive palette of shades and colors. We also sell related items such as compacts, brushes and other makeup tools.
Fragrance - We offer a variety of fragrance products. The fragrances are sold in various forms, including eau de parfum sprays and colognes, as well as lotions, powders, creams, candles and soaps that are based on a particular fragrance.
Hair Care - Our hair care products include shampoos, conditioners, styling products, treatment, finishing sprays and hair color products.
Other - We also sell ancillary products and services.

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Our Brands
Given the personal nature of our products and the wide array of consumer preferences and tastes, as well as competition for the attention of consumers, our strategy has been to market and promote our products through distinctive brands seeking to address broad preferences and tastes. Each brand has a single global image that is promoted with consistent logos, packaging and advertising designed to enhance its image and differentiate it from other brands in the market. Beauty brands are differentiated by numerous factors, including quality, performance, a particular lifestyle, where they are distributed (e.g., prestige or mass) and price point. Below is a chart showing most of the brands that we sell and how we view them based on lifestyle and price point:
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 Estée Lauder brand products, which have been sold since 1946, have a reputation for innovation, sophistication and superior quality. Estée Lauder is one of the world’s most renowned beauty brands, producing iconic skin care, makeup and fragrances.
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 We pioneered the marketing of prestige men’s fragrance, grooming and skin care products with the introduction of Aramis products in 1964.
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 Introduced in 1968, Clinique skin care and makeup products are all allergy tested and 100% fragrance free and have been designed to address individual skin types and needs. Clinique also offers select fragrances. The skin care and makeup products are based on the research and related expertise of leading dermatologists.
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 Lab Series, introduced in 1987, is a series of high performance, specialized skin care solutions uniquely created to improve the look and feel of men’s skin.
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 Introduced in 1990, Origins is known for high-performance natural skin care that is “powered by nature and proven by science.” The brand also sells makeup, fragrance and hair care products and is distributed primarily through online, specialty-multi and free-standing Origins stores. Origins has a license agreement to develop and sell beauty products using the name of Dr. Andrew Weil.
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 M·A·C, the leading brand of professional cosmetics, was created in Toronto, Canada. We completed our acquisition of M·A·C in 1998. The brand’s popularity has grown through a tradition of word-of-mouth endorsement from professional makeup artists, models, photographers and journalists around the world.
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 Acquired in 1995, Bobbi Brown is a global prestige beauty brand known for its high quality and undertone-correct makeup and skin care products that celebrate individual beauty and confidence. Reflecting its artistry roots, the brand is focused on creating a teaching and learning community of women around the world.
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 Acquired in 1995, La Mer is a leading global luxury skin care brand that is available in limited distribution worldwide. The brand is known for its iconic Crème de la Mer moisturizer, serums and lotions, as well as other skin care and foundation products that are created around the original “Miracle Broth.”
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 Acquired in 1997, Aveda sells high-performance, naturally-derived hair care products, as well as skin care, makeup and fragrance. The brand is known for its innovative plant-based products and its commitment to environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility. It is distributed primarily through top-tier hair salons and direct-to-consumer, via online and Aveda stores.
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 Acquired in 1999, Jo Malone London is a scented British lifestyle brand with understated elegance, offering enchanted story-telling and high-touch boutique services. The brand’s famous colognes are perfect alone or artfully layered with Fragrance Combining. Jo Malone London embodies the spirit of gifting generosity and inspires emotional elevation.
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 Acquired in 2006, Bumble and bumble is a New York-based hair care brand that creates high-quality hair care and styling products. The brand is distributed primarily through top-tier salons, including Bumble and bumble’s own flagship salons, specialty-multi retailers and online.
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 Acquired in 2003, Darphin is a Paris-based, prestige skin care brand known for its high-performance botanical skin care. The brand is distributed primarily through high-end independent pharmacies and online brand and retailer channels.
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In 2005, we entered into a license agreement to develop and distribute luxury fragrances and beauty products under the Tom Ford brand name, all shaped with Tom Ford’s vision to be the first true luxury brand of the 21st century encompassing fashion, fragrance and accessories. In the same vein as the fashion brand, Tom Ford Beauty exudes seductive modern-day glamour and includes luxury fragrance, color cosmetics, men’s grooming products and skin care products for discerning consumers globally.
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 Acquired in 2010, Smashbox Cosmetics is a Los Angeles-based, photo studio-inspired makeup brand with high performance products created for our consumer’s everyday life in the spotlight.
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 Launched in 2012, AERIN is a luxury lifestyle beauty and fragrance brand inspired by the signature style of its founder, Aerin Lauder.
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 Acquired in 2014, Le Labo is a sensory and experiential lifestyle brand, deeply rooted in the craft of slow perfumery. Born in Grasse, France and raised in downtown NYC, it offers hand-crafted and personalized fragrances, as well as ‘alternative’ and genuine experiences celebrating craftsmanship.
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 Acquired in 2015, Les Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle is a collection of exclusive, sophisticated, ultraluxury fragrances crafted by some of the world’s most talented perfumers and published by the brand.
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 Acquired in 2015, GLAMGLOW started as a behind-the-scenes Hollywood secret to instant glow. The brand is known for bold, sensorial products that deliver instant results, and its unconventional philosophy that high performance skin care should also be fun and sexy.
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 Acquired in 2016, By Kilian is a prestige fragrance brand that embodies timeless sophistication and modern luxury.
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 Acquired in 2016, BECCA is the makeup brand known for its complexion products and iconic glow. The brand is committed to inclusivity and has shades for the lightest to darkest skin tones. Its formulas harness innovative light technology to provide a range of glow from start to finish.
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 Acquired in 2016, Too Faced is a serious makeup brand that knows how to have fun. The brand is unabashedly pink, pretty and feminine with a playful wink that is beloved for its high-quality formulas, cheeky product names and distinctive packaging.
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Acquired in 2019, Dr. Jart+ is a Seoul-based, global skin care brand known for its innovative formulations and unique combination of dermatological science and art. Its high-quality masks, moisturizers and serums are distributed primarily through travel retail, specialty-multi and online channels.
 
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 Under exclusive global license arrangements with Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan New York, DKNY, Michael Kors and Ermenegildo Zegna, we manage a diversified designer fragrance portfolio.
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In addition to the brands described above, we manufacture and sell products under the Prescriptives, RODIN olio lusso and Do The Right Thing brands. We also develop and sell products under a license from Kiton. 
We also have minority investments in (i) a company based in Canada that manufactures, markets and sells skin care and other products under a number of brand names, including The Ordinary, primarily in North America, the United Kingdom and Europe, and (ii) a company based in India that manufactures, markets and sells Ayurvedic skin care and other products under the Forest Essentials brand name, primarily in India.
Our “heritage brands” are Estée Lauder, Clinique and Origins. Our “makeup artist brands” are M·A·C and Bobbi Brown. Our “luxury brands” are La Mer, Jo Malone London, Tom Ford, AERIN, RODIN olio lusso, Le Labo, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle and By Kilian. Our “designer fragrances” are sold under the Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan New York, DKNY, Michael Kors, Kiton and Ermenegildo Zegna brand names, which we license from their respective owners.

Distribution
We sell our prestige products through distribution channels that complement the luxury image and prestige status of our brands. Our products are sold on our own and authorized retailer websites, on third-party online malls, in stores in airports, in duty-free locations and in our own and authorized freestanding stores. In addition, our products are sold in brick-and-mortar retail stores, including department stores, specialty-multi retailers, upscale perfumeries and pharmacies and prestige salons and spas. Our general practice is to accept returns of our products from customers if properly requested and approved.
In fiscal 2020, we continued to strategically open new points of distribution globally, and exited certain locations when appropriate.
As of June 30, 2020, we operated approximately 1,600 freestanding stores. Most are operated under a single brand name, such as M·A·C, Jo Malone London, Aveda, Origins or Le Labo. There are also more than 800 Company-branded freestanding stores around the world operated by authorized third parties, primarily in Europe, the Middle East & Africa.
Products from most of our brands are sold online through Company-owned and operated e-commerce and m-commerce sites, through various sites operated by authorized retailers and through third-party online malls. These sites and/or malls are in approximately 50 countries. While today a majority of these online sales are generated in mainland China, the United States and the United Kingdom, we have additional opportunity to expand online sales globally.
We maintain dedicated sales teams that manage our retail accounts. We have wholly owned operations in over 50 countries, and two controlling interests that operate in several countries, through which we market, sell and distribute our products. In certain countries, we sell our products through carefully selected distributors who we believe share our commitment to protecting the image and position of our brands. In addition, we sell certain products in select domestic and international U.S. military exchanges. For information regarding our net sales and long-lived assets by geographic region, see Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data – Note 22 – Segment Data and Related Information.
Customers
Our strategy is to build strong relationships globally with select retailers, and our senior management works with executives of our major retail accounts on a regular basis. We believe we are viewed as an important supplier to these customers. In addition, we connect with our consumers directly through freestanding stores, e-commerce sites and social media to build a robust omnichannel experience. 

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Marketing
Our strategy to market and promote our products begins with our well-diversified portfolio of more than 25 distinctive brands across four product categories. Our portfolio can be deployed in multiple distribution channels, key travel corridors and geographies where our global reputation and awareness of our brands benefit us. Our geographic and distribution channel diversity allows us to engage local consumers across an array of developed and emerging markets by emphasizing products and services with the greatest local relevance, inclusiveness and appeal. This strategy is built around “Bringing the Best to Everyone We Touch.” Our founder, Mrs. Estée Lauder, formulated this unique marketing philosophy to provide “High-Touch” service and high-quality products as the foundation for a solid and loyal consumer base. Our “High-Touch” approach is demonstrated through our integrated consumer engagement models that leverage our product specialists and technology to provide the consumer with a distinct and truly personalized experience that can include personal consultations with beauty advisors, in person or online, who demonstrate and educate the consumer on product usage and application. As our business has grown and channel mix has evolved, we have further expanded our marketing philosophy and “High-Touch” execution to build both online and offline personalized consumer experiences through both digital and physical demonstration, targeted digital media and tailored trial-to-loyalty pathways. We plan to continue to leverage our core strengths, including the quality of our products, our “High-Touch” consumer engagement and a diversified portfolio of brands, channels and geographies.

Our marketing strategies vary by brand, local market and distribution channel. We have a diverse portfolio of brands, and we employ different engagement models suited to each brand’s equity, distribution, product focus, understanding of the core consumer and local relevance. This enables us to elevate the consumer experience as we attract new consumers, create trial, build loyalty, drive consumer advocacy and address the transformation of consumer shopping behaviors. Hero products are at the core of the brand marketing strategies and have become the key drivers of repeat sales and loyalty. Our marketing planning approach leverages local insights to optimize allocation of resources across different media outlets and retail touch points to resonate with our most discerning consumers most effectively. This includes strategically deploying our brands and tailoring product assortments and communications to fit local tastes and preferences in cities and neighborhoods. Most of our creative marketing work is done by in-house teams, in collaboration with external resources, that design and produce the sales materials, social media strategies, advertisements and packaging for products in each brand. For a number of products, we create and deploy 360° integrated consumer engagement programs. We build brand equity and drive traffic to retail locations and to our own and authorized retailers’ websites through digital and social media, magazines and newspapers, television, billboards in cities and airports, and direct mail and email. In addition, we seek editorial coverage for our brands and products in digital and social media and print, to drive influencer amplification.
We are increasing our brand awareness and sales through our strategic emphasis on technology, by continuing to elevate our digital presence encompassing e-commerce and m-commerce, as well as digital, social media and influencer marketing. We are investing in new analytical capabilities to promote a more personalized experience across our distribution channels. We continue to innovate to better meet consumer online shopping preferences (e.g., how-to videos, ratings and reviews and mobile phone and tablet applications), support e-commerce and m-commerce businesses via digital and social marketing activities designed to build brand equity and “High-Touch” consumer engagement, in order to continue to offer unparalleled service and set the standard for prestige beauty shopping online. We also support our authorized retailers to strengthen their e-commerce businesses and drive sales of our brands on their websites. We have opportunities to expand our brand portfolio online around the world, and we are investing in and testing new omnichannel concepts in the United States, China and other markets to increase brand loyalty by better serving consumers as they shop across channels and travel corridors. We have dedicated resources to implement creative, coordinated, brand-enhancing strategies across all online activities to increase our direct access to consumers.
Promotional activities, in-store displays, and online navigation are designed to attract new consumers, build demand and loyalty and introduce existing consumers to other product offerings from the respective brands. Our marketing efforts also benefit from cooperative advertising programs with some retailers, some of which are supported by coordinated promotions, such as sampling programs, including purchase with purchase and gift with purchase. Sampling is a key promotional activity as the quality and perceived benefits of sample products are very effective inducements to purchases by new and existing consumers. Such activities attract consumers to our counters and websites and keep existing consumers engaged. Our marketing and sales executives spend considerable time in the field meeting with consumers, retailers, beauty advisors and makeup artists at the points of sale to enable us to offer a seamless experience across channels of distribution.


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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on consumer behaviors and has accelerated the trend for a digital-first consumer journey and e-commerce. This provided a catalyst for redesigning each brand's high-touch experience and accelerated the implementation of new direct-to-consumer business models and consumer engagement programs, such as selling through social media and web conferencing platforms ("Social Selling"). These models and programs provide distinct one-to-one and one-to-many high-touch omnichannel services and personalized experiences by leveraging technology and our talented beauty advisors, consultants, and makeup artists.
Information Technology
Information technology supports all aspects of our business, including product development, marketing, sales, order processing, production, distribution and finance. We continue to maintain and enhance our information technology systems in alignment with our long-term strategy. An increasing portion of our global information technology infrastructure is cloud-based. This allows for a more scalable platform to support current and future requirements and improves our agility and flexibility to respond to the demands of the business by leveraging more advanced technologies.
We recognize that technology presents opportunities for competitive advantage, and we continue to invest in new capabilities across various aspects of our business. During fiscal 2020, we improved our remote working infrastructure and resilience plans, deployed capabilities to enhance data analytics, launched new marketing capabilities to drive deeper consumer engagement and elevated the in-store experience through innovative technologies. Over the next few years, we plan to expand our seamless omni-retail capabilities, expand our Social Selling, create manufacturing and distribution facilities of the future powered by technology and utilize predictive analytics to optimize our supply and demand planning.
Research and Development
We believe that we are an industry leader in the development of new products. Our research and development group, which includes scientists, engineers and other employees involved in product innovation and packaging design and development, works closely with our marketing and product development teams and third-party suppliers to generate ideas, develop new products and product-line extensions, create new packaging concepts, and improve, redesign or reformulate existing products. In addition, these research and development personnel provide ongoing technical assistance and know-how to quality assurance and manufacturing personnel on a worldwide basis, to ensure consistent global standards for our products and to deliver products that meet or exceed consumer expectations. The research and development group has long-standing working relationships with several U.S. and international medical and educational facilities, which supplement internal capabilities. Members of the research and development group are also responsible for regulatory compliance matters. As our business continues to grow globally, and to satisfy the demand for locally relevant consumer products, we have increased our focus on innovation in Asia/Pacific, especially in China, as well as in Korea and Japan.
Our research and development costs totaled $228 million, $202 million and $181 million in fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively, and are expensed as incurred. As of June 30, 2020, we had approximately 930 employees engaged in research and development activities. We maintain research and development programs at certain of our principal facilities and facilities dedicated to performing research and development, see Item 2. Properties.
Manufacturing, Warehousing and Raw Materials
We manufacture our products primarily in the United States, Belgium, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Canada and leverage global third-party manufacturing networks. We continue to streamline our manufacturing processes and identify sourcing opportunities to improve innovation, increase efficiencies, minimize our impact on the environment, ensure supply sufficiency and reduce costs. Our plants are modern, and our manufacturing processes are substantially automated. While we believe that our manufacturing network of internal and external sites is sufficient to meet current and reasonably anticipated increased requirements, we continue to implement improvements in capacity, technology, and productivity and align our manufacturing with regional sales demand to be more agile. From time to time, demand changes may challenge our capacity for certain subcategories on a short-term basis, but we believe, this will not impact our ability to meet our annual or longer-term strategic objectives. To capitalize on innovation and other supply chain benefits, we continue to utilize a network of third-party manufacturers on a global basis.
We have established a flexible global distribution network of logistic providers that are managed by us or third parties. The network is designed to meet the changing demands of our customers while maintaining service levels. We are continuously evaluating and adjusting this physical distribution network. We have established regional and local distribution centers, including those maintained by third parties, strategically positioned throughout the world in order to facilitate efficient delivery of our products to our customers.
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We continue to focus on citizenship and sustainability across our operations. Focus areas include employee safety and minimizing our impact on the environment. This is achieved, in part, through investment in equipment meeting safety regulations while enhancing the work environment through safe practices and capabilities. Our equipment and buildings are also continually improved to support and deliver our sustainability goals and reduce our impact on the environment. Environmental efforts include waste reduction, zero industrial waste to landfill and investment in renewable energy sources.
The principal raw materials used in the manufacture of our products are essential oils, alcohols and specialty chemicals. We also purchase packaging components that are manufactured to our design specifications. Procurement of materials for all manufacturing facilities is generally made on a global basis through our Global Supplier Relations function. We review our supplier base periodically with the specific objectives of improving quality, increasing innovation and speed-to-market, ensuring supply sufficiency and reducing costs. In addition, we focus on supply sourcing within the region of manufacture to allow for improved supply chain efficiencies, lead-time reduction and reduced carbon footprint. Some of our products rely on a single or limited number of suppliers; however, we believe that our portfolio of suppliers has adequate resources and facilities to overcome most unforeseen interruptions of supply. In the past, we have been able to obtain an adequate supply of essential raw materials and currently believe we have adequate sources of supply for virtually all components of our products. To further ensure the adequacy of supply, we utilize sophisticated planning tools and deploy various tactics such as strategic inventory buffer and multi-sourcing solutions.
We are continually benchmarking the performance of our supply chain, and we augment our supply base and adjust our distribution networks and manufacturing footprint based upon the changing needs of the business. As we integrate acquired brands, we continually seek new ways to leverage our production and sourcing capabilities to improve our overall supply chain performance.
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have leveraged our network of global supply, manufacturing and distribution, to help mitigate disruption to our supply chain and help enable our expected return to normal operations.
Competition

There is significant competition within each market where our skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products are sold. Brand recognition, product quality and effectiveness, distribution channels, accessibility, and price point are some of the factors that impact consumers’ choices among competing products and brands. Marketing, merchandising, in-store experiences and demonstrations, and new product innovations also have an impact on consumers’ purchasing decisions. With our portfolio of diverse brands sold in a variety of channels, we are one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products.

We compete against a number of global and local companies. Some of our competitors are large, well-known, multinational manufacturers and marketers of skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products, most of which market and sell their products under multiple brand names. Our competitors include L’Oreal S.A.; Unilever; Procter & Gamble; Shiseido Company, Ltd.; Coty, Inc.; LVMH Moët Hennessey Louis Vuitton; Beiersdorf; Chanel S.A.; Kao Corp; and Amorepacific Corp. We also face competition from a number of independent brands, some of which are backed by private-equity investors, as well as some retailers that have their own beauty brands. Certain of our competitors also have ownership interests in retailers that are customers of ours.

Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights
We own the trademark rights used in connection with the manufacturing, marketing, distribution and sale of our products both in the United States and in the other principal countries where such products are sold, including Estée Lauder, Clinique, Aramis, Prescriptives, Lab Series, Origins, M·A·C, Bobbi Brown, La Mer, Aveda, Jo Malone London, Bumble and bumble, Darphin, Smashbox, Le Labo, RODIN olio lusso, Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle, GLAMGLOW, By Kilian, BECCA, Too Faced, Dr. Jart+ and the names of many of the products sold under these brands. We are the exclusive worldwide licensee for fragrances, cosmetics and/or related products for Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan New York, DKNY, Kiton, Michael Kors, Tom Ford, Dr. Andrew Weil, Ermenegildo Zegna and AERIN. For further discussion on license arrangements, including their duration, see Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data – Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies – License Arrangements. We protect our trademarks in the United States and significant markets worldwide. We consider the protection of our trademarks to be important to our business.


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A number of our products incorporate patented, patent-pending or proprietary technology. In addition, several products and packaging for such products are covered by design patents or copyrights. While we consider these patents and copyrights, and the protection thereof, to be important, no single patent or copyright, or group of patents or copyrights, is considered material to the conduct of our business.

Employees

At June 30, 2020, we had approximately 48,000 full-time employees worldwide (including demonstrators at points of sale who are employed by us). We have no employees in the United States that are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. A limited number of employees outside of the United States are covered by a works council agreement or other syndicate arrangements.

Government Regulation
We and our products are subject to regulation by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission in the United States, as well as by various other federal, state, local and international regulatory authorities and the regulatory authorities in the countries in which our products are produced or sold. Such regulations relate to a wide range of matters including ingredients, manufacturing, labeling, packaging, marketing, advertising, transport, the environment and the sale, disposal and safety of our products. There are no material capital expenditures for environmental control facilities either planned in the current year or expected in the near future. Compliance with environmental laws and regulations is not expected to have a material adverse effect on the Company’s capital expenditures, earnings or competitive position.

Seasonality

Our results of operations in total, by region and by product category, are subject to seasonal fluctuations, with net sales in the first half of the fiscal year typically being slightly higher than in the second half of the fiscal year. The higher net sales in the first half of the fiscal year are attributable to the increased levels of purchasing by consumers for special events and by retailers for holiday selling seasons. Fluctuations in net sales and operating income in total and by geographic region and product category in any fiscal quarter may be attributable to the level and scope of new product introductions or the particular retail calendars followed by our customers that are retailers, which may impact their order placement and receipt of goods. Additionally, gross margins and operating expenses are impacted on a quarter-by-quarter basis by variations in our launch calendar and the timing of promotions, including purchase with purchase and gift with purchase promotions.

Availability of Reports

We make available financial information, news releases and other information on our website: www.elcompanies.com. Our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and other reports, as well as any amendments to these reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, are available free of charge via the EDGAR database at www.sec.gov or our website, as soon as reasonably practicable after we file such reports and amendments with, or furnish them to, the Securities and Exchange Commission. Stockholders may also contact Investor Relations at 767 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10153 to obtain a hard copy of these reports without charge.
Corporate Governance Guidelines and Code of Conduct
The Board of Directors has developed corporate governance practices to help it fulfill its responsibilities to stockholders in providing general direction and oversight of management. These practices are set forth in our Corporate Governance Guidelines. We also have a Code of Conduct (“Code”) applicable to all employees, officers and directors of the Company, including the Chief Executive Officer, the Chief Financial Officer and other senior financial officers. These documents and any waiver of a provision of the Code granted to any senior officer or director or any material amendment to the Code may be found in the “Investors” section of our websitewww.elcompanies.com under the heading “Corporate Governance.” The charters for the Audit Committee, Compensation Committee and Nominating and Governance Committee may be found in the same location on our website. Stockholders may also contact Investor Relations at 767 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10153 to obtain a hard copy of these documents without charge.
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Information about our Executive Officers*
NameAgePosition(s) Held
John Demsey64Executive Group President
Fabrizio Freda62President, Chief Executive Officer and a Director
Carl Haney57Executive Vice President, Global Research and Development, Corporate Product Innovation, Package Development
Jane Hertzmark Hudis60Executive Group President
Leonard A. Lauder87Chairman Emeritus and a Director
Ronald S. Lauder76Chairman of Clinique Laboratories, LLC and a Director
William P. Lauder60Executive Chairman and a Director
Sara E. Moss73Vice Chairman
Michael O’Hare52Executive Vice President – Global Human Resources
Gregory F. Polcer65Executive Vice President – Global Supply Chain
Cedric Prouvé60Group President – International
Deirdre Stanley55Executive Vice President and General Counsel
Tracey T. Travis58Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Alexandra C. Trower55Executive Vice President – Global Communications
*as of August 20, 2020
All of the executive officers named above have been employees of the Company for more than five years, with the exception of Deirdre Stanley. Ms. Stanley joined the Company in 2019. Previously, she served as General Counsel for The Thomson Reuters Corporation, a provider of business information services, and its predecessor company for 17 years.

Information about our Board of Directors*
NamePrincipal Occupation or Employment
Charlene BarshefskySenior International Partner, WilmerHale, a law firm
Rose Marie Bravo, CBERetail and Marketing Consultant
Wei Sun ChristiansonManaging Director and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Asia Pacific and
Chief Executive Officer of China at Morgan Stanley, a global financial services firm
Lynn Forester de RothschildChair, E.L. Rothschild LLC, a private investment company
Fabrizio FredaPresident and Chief Executive Officer, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
Paul J. FribourgChairman and Chief Executive Officer, Continental Grain Company, an international agribusiness and investment company
Irvine O. Hockaday, Jr.Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Jennifer HymanCo-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rent the Runway, Inc., a company that rents designer clothing and accessories to women
Jane LauderExecutive Vice President, Enterprise Marketing and Chief Data Officer, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
Leonard A. LauderChairman Emeritus, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
Ronald S. LauderChairman, Clinique Laboratories, LLC
William P. LauderExecutive Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
Richard D. ParsonsSenior Advisor, Providence Equity Partners LLC, a global private equity and investment firm, and co-founder and partner of Imagination Capital LLC, a venture capital firm
Barry S. SternlichtChairman and Chief Executive Officer, Starwood Capital Group, a privately-held global investment firm
Jennifer TejadaChief Executive Officer and Chair, PagerDuty, Inc., a digital operations management platform
Richard F. ZanninoManaging Director, CCMP Capital Advisors, LLC, a private equity firm
*as of August 20, 2020
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Item 1A.  Risk Factors.
There are risks associated with an investment in our securities. Please consider the following risks and all of the other information in this annual report on Form 10-K and in our subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Our business may also be adversely affected by risks and uncertainties not presently known to us or that we currently believe to be immaterial. If any of the events contemplated by the following discussion of risks should occur or other risks arise or develop, our business, which includes our prospects, financial condition and results of operations, the trading prices of our securities and our reputation, may be adversely affected.
The beauty business is highly competitive, and if we are unable to compete effectively our results will suffer.
We face vigorous competition from companies throughout the world, including multinational consumer product companies. Some competitors have greater resources than we do, some others are newer companies (some backed by private-equity investors), and some are competing in distribution channels where we are less represented. In some cases, our competitors may be able to respond to changing business and economic conditions more quickly than us. Competition in the beauty business is based on a variety of factors including pricing of products, innovation, perceived value, service to the consumer, promotional activities, advertising, special events, new product introductions, e-commerce and m-commerce initiatives and other activities. It is difficult for us to predict the timing and scale of our competitors’ actions in these areas.
Our ability to compete also depends on the continued strength of our brands, our ability to attract and retain key talent and other personnel, the efficiency of our manufacturing facilities and distribution network, and our ability to maintain and protect our intellectual property and those other rights used in our business. Our Company has a well-recognized and strong reputation that could be negatively impacted by social media and many other factors. If our reputation is adversely affected, our ability to attract and retain customers and consumers could be impacted. In addition, certain of our key retailers around the world market and sell competing brands or are owned or otherwise affiliated with companies that market and sell competing brands. Our inability to continue to compete effectively in key countries around the world could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Our inability to anticipate and respond to market trends and changes in consumer preferences could adversely affect our financial results.
Our continued success depends on our ability to anticipate, gauge and react in a timely and cost-effective manner to changes in consumer tastes for skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care products, attitudes toward our industry and brands, as well as to where and how consumers shop. We must continually work to develop, manufacture and market new products, maintain and adapt our “High-Touch” services to existing and emerging distribution channels, maintain and enhance the recognition of our brands, achieve a favorable mix of products, successfully manage our inventories, and modernize and refine our approach as to how and where we market and sell our products. While we devote considerable effort and resources to shape, analyze and respond to consumer preferences, we recognize that consumer tastes cannot be predicted with certainty and can change rapidly. The issue is compounded by the increasing use of digital and social media by consumers and the speed by which information and opinions are shared. If we are unable to anticipate and respond to sudden challenges that we may face in the marketplace, trends in the market for our products and changing consumer demands and sentiment, our financial results will suffer. In addition, from time to time, sales growth or profitability may be concentrated in a relatively small number of our brands, channels or countries. If such a situation persists or a number of brands, channels or countries fail to perform as expected, there could be a material adverse effect on our business.
In key markets, such as the United States, we have seen a decline in retail traffic in our department store customers and in our freestanding stores. We continue to see the shift in consumer preference to the online channel, which accelerated in response to COVID-19. Consolidation or liquidation in the retail trade, from these or other factors, may result in us becoming increasingly dependent on key retailers and could result in an increased risk related to the concentration of our customers. A severe, adverse impact on the business operations of our customers could have a corresponding material adverse effect on us. If one or more of our largest customers change their strategies (including pricing or promotional activities), enter bankruptcy (or similar proceedings) or if our relationship with any large customer is changed or terminated for any reason, there could be a material adverse effect on our business.

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Our future success depends, in part, on our ability to achieve our long-term strategy.
Achieving our long-term strategy will require investment in new capabilities, brands, categories, distribution channels, supply chain facilities, technologies and emerging and more mature geographic markets. These investments may result in short-term costs without any current sales and, therefore, may be dilutive to our earnings. In addition, we may dispose of or discontinue select brands or streamline operations and incur costs or restructuring and other charges in doing so. Although we believe that our strategy will lead to long-term growth in sales and profitability, we may not realize the anticipated benefits. The failure to realize benefits, which may be due to our inability to execute plans, global or local economic conditions, competition, changes in the beauty industry and the other risks described herein, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Acquisitions may expose us to additional risks.
We continuously review acquisition and strategic investment opportunities that would expand our current product offerings, our distribution channels, increase the size and geographic scope of our operations or otherwise offer growth and operating efficiency opportunities. There can be no assurance that we will be able to identify suitable candidates or consummate these transactions on favorable terms. If required, the financing for these transactions could result in an increase in our indebtedness, dilute the interests of our stockholders or both. The purchase price for some acquisitions may include additional amounts to be paid in cash in the future, a portion of which may be contingent on the achievement of certain future operating results of the acquired business. If the performance of any such acquired business exceeds such operating results, then we may incur additional charges and be required to pay additional amounts.
Acquisitions including strategic investments or alliances entail numerous risks, which may include:
difficulties in integrating acquired operations or products, including the loss of key employees from, or customers of, acquired businesses;
diversion of management’s attention from our existing businesses;
adverse effects on existing business relationships with suppliers and customers;
adverse impacts of margin and product cost structures different from those of our current mix of business; and
risks of entering distribution channels, categories or markets in which we have limited or no prior experience.
Our failure to successfully complete the integration of any acquired business or to achieve the long-term plan for such business, as well as any other adverse consequences associated with our acquisition and investment activities, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
Completed acquisitions typically result in additional goodwill and/or an increase in other intangible assets on our balance sheet. We are required at least annually, or as facts and circumstances exist, to test goodwill and other intangible assets with indefinite lives to determine if impairment has occurred. If the testing performed indicates that impairment has occurred, we are required to record a non-cash impairment charge for the difference between the carrying value of the goodwill or other intangible assets with indefinite lives and the fair value of the goodwill or the fair value of other intangible assets with indefinite lives in the period the determination is made. We cannot accurately predict the amount and timing of any impairment of assets. Should the value of goodwill or other intangible assets become impaired, there could be a material adverse effect on our business.
Our business could be negatively impacted by corporate citizenship and sustainability matters.
There is an increased focus from certain investors, customers, consumers, employees, and other stakeholders concerning corporate citizenship and sustainability matters. From time to time, we announce certain initiatives, including goals, regarding our focus areas, which include environmental matters, packaging, responsible sourcing, social investments and inclusion and diversity. We could fail, or be perceived to fail, in our achievement of such initiatives or goals, or we could fail in accurately reporting our progress on such initiatives and goals. Such failures could be due to changes in our business (e.g., shifts in business among distribution channels or acquisitions). Moreover, the standards by which citizenship and sustainability efforts and related matters are measured are developing and evolving, and certain areas are subject to assumptions. The standards or assumptions could change over time. In addition, we could be criticized for the scope of such initiatives or goals or perceived as not acting responsibly in connection with these matters. Any such matters, or related corporate citizenship and sustainability matters, could have a material adverse effect on our business.

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A general economic downturn, or sudden disruption in business conditions may affect consumer purchases of discretionary items and/or the financial strength of our customers that are retailers, which could adversely affect our financial results.
The general level of consumer spending is affected by a number of factors, including general economic conditions, inflation, interest rates, energy costs, and consumer confidence generally, all of which are beyond our control. Consumer purchases of discretionary items tend to decline during recessionary periods, when disposable income is lower, and may impact sales of our products. A decline in consumer purchases of discretionary items also tends to impact our customers that are retailers. We generally extend credit to a retailer based on an evaluation of its financial condition, usually without requiring collateral. However, the financial difficulties of a retailer could cause us to curtail or eliminate business with that customer. We may also assume more credit risk relating to the receivables from that retailer. Our inability to collect receivables from our largest customers or from a group of customers could have a material adverse effect on our business. If a retailer was to liquidate, we may incur additional costs if we choose to purchase the retailer’s inventory of our products to protect brand equity.
In addition, sudden disruptions in local or global business conditions, for example, from events such as a pandemic or other health issues, geo-political or local conflicts, civil unrest, terrorist attacks, adverse weather conditions, climate changes or seismic events, can have a short-term and, sometimes, long-term impact on consumer spending.
Events that impact consumers’ willingness or ability to travel or purchase our products while traveling may impact our business, including travel retail, a significant contributor to our overall results, and our strategy to market and sell products to international travelers at their destinations.
A downturn in the economies of, or continuing recessions in, the countries where we sell our products or a sudden disruption of business conditions in those countries could adversely affect consumer confidence, the financial strength of our retailers and our sales and profitability. We are also cautious of foreign currency movements, including their impact on tourism. Additionally, we continue to monitor the effects of the global macroeconomic environment; social and political issues; regulatory matters, including the imposition of tariffs; geopolitical tensions; and global security issues.
Volatility in the financial markets and a related economic downturn in key markets or markets generally throughout the world could have a material adverse effect on our business. While we typically generate significant cash flows from our ongoing operations and have access to global credit markets through our various financing activities, credit markets may experience significant disruptions. Deterioration in global financial markets or an adverse change in our credit ratings could make future financing difficult or more expensive. If any financial institutions that are parties to our revolving credit facility or other financing arrangements, such as foreign exchange or interest rate hedging instruments, were to declare bankruptcy or become insolvent, they may be unable to perform under their agreements with us. This could leave us with reduced borrowing capacity or unhedged against certain foreign currency or interest rate exposures which could have a material adverse effect on our business.
The extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic could materially adversely affect our financial results will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and difficult to predict.
The outbreak and global spread of COVID-19 has significantly disrupted our operating environment, including retail stores, travel retail, manufacturing, distribution, and the ability of many of our customers to operate. We have also seen shifts in consumer preferences and practices.

There is considerable uncertainty regarding this pandemic, including measures being taken by various authorities and others to try to contain the pandemic, as well as the timing of the identification and distribution of any vaccine or cure. We are modifying our business practices, including in response to legislation, executive orders and guidance from government entities and healthcare authorities. Some of these changes to our business practices create operational challenges and may adversely impact our business. As we continue to monitor COVID-19 developments, including the impacts on our consumers, customers and suppliers, we have taken and will continue to take further measures. Some of the actions we take could adversely impact our business, and there is no certainty that our actions will be sufficient to mitigate the risks and the impacts of COVID-19.


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The pandemic has significantly increased economic uncertainty, raising concerns about an economic slowdown and the possibility of a global recession. History has not provided any comparable recent events that provide guidance concerning the impacts of a global pandemic like COVID-19. The degree to which COVID-19 impacts our business will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, many of which are outside our control, including the identification and distribution of any vaccine or cure and to what extent there are sustainable improvements in the retail environment and general economic conditions.

Changes in laws, regulations and policies that affect our business could adversely affect our financial results.
Our business is subject to numerous laws, regulations and policies around the world. Changes in these laws, regulations and policies, including the interpretation or enforcement thereof, that affect our business could adversely affect our financial results. These changes include accounting standards, laws and regulations relating to tax matters, trade, data privacy (e.g., General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)), anti-corruption, advertising, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, customs matters, product registration, ingredients, chemicals, packaging, selective distribution, environmental or climate change matters.
Disputes and other legal or regulatory proceedings could adversely affect our financial results.
We are, and may in the future become, party to litigation, other disputes or regulatory proceedings across a wide range of matters, including ones relating to employment, real estate, environmental, regulatory, advertising, trade relations, tax, privacy and product liability matters (including asbestos-related claims). In general, claims made by us or against us in litigation, disputes or other proceedings can be expensive and time consuming to bring or defend against and could result in settlements, injunctions or damages that could significantly affect our business. It is not possible to predict the final resolution of the litigation, disputes or proceedings to which we currently are or may in the future become party to, and the impact of certain of these matters on our business could be material.
Government reviews, inquiries, investigations and actions could harm our business.
As we operate in various locations around the world, our operations are subject to governmental scrutiny and may be adversely impacted by the results of such scrutiny. The regulatory environment with regard to our business is evolving, and officials often exercise broad discretion in deciding how to interpret and apply applicable regulations. From time to time, we may receive formal and informal inquiries from various government regulatory authorities, as well as self-regulatory organizations, about our business and compliance with local laws, regulations or standards. Any determination that our operations or activities, or the activities of our employees, are not in compliance with existing laws, regulations or standards could negatively impact us in a number of ways, including the imposition of substantial fines, interruptions of business, loss of supplier, vendor or other third-party relationships, termination of necessary licenses and permits, or similar results, all of which could potentially harm our business. Regardless of the outcomes, these reviews, inquiries, investigations and actions could create negative publicity which could harm our business.
Our success depends, in part, on the quality, efficacy and safety of our products.
Our success depends, in part, on the quality, efficacy and safety of our products. If our products are found to be defective or unsafe, our product claims are found to be deceptive, or our products otherwise fail to meet our consumers’ expectations, our relationships with customers or consumers could suffer, the appeal of one or more of our brands could be diminished, and we could lose sales and become subject to liability or claims, any of which could result in a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, third parties may sell counterfeit versions of some of our products. These counterfeit products may pose safety risks, may fail to meet consumers’ expectations, and may have a negative impact on our business.
Our success depends, in part, on our key personnel.
Our success depends, in part, on our ability to retain our key personnel, including our executive officers and senior management team. The unexpected loss of, or misconduct by, one or more of our key employees could adversely affect our business. Our success also depends, in part, on our continuing ability to identify, hire, train and retain other highly qualified personnel. Competition for these employees can be intense. We may not be able to attract, assimilate or retain qualified personnel in the future, and our failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business. This risk may be exacerbated by the stresses associated with the implementation of our strategic plan and other initiatives.
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We are subject to risks related to the global scope of our operations.
We operate on a global basis, with a majority of our fiscal 2020 net sales and operating income generated outside the United States. We maintain offices in over 50 countries and have key operational facilities located inside and outside the United States that manufacture, warehouse or distribute goods for sale throughout the world. Our global operations are subject to many risks and uncertainties, including:
fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates and the relative costs of operating in different places, which can affect our results of operations, the value of our foreign assets, the relative prices at which we and competitors sell products in the same markets, the cost of certain inventory and non-inventory items required in our operations, and the relative prices at which we sell our products in different markets;
foreign or U.S. laws, regulations and policies, including restrictions on trade, immigration and travel, operations, and investments; currency exchange controls; restrictions on imports and exports, including license requirements; tariffs; and taxes;
lack of well-established or reliable legal and administrative systems in certain countries in which we operate;
adverse weather conditions and natural disasters; and
social, economic and geopolitical conditions, such as a pandemic, terrorist attack, war or other military action.
These risks could have a material adverse effect on our business.
A disruption in our operations or supply chain could adversely affect our business.
As a company engaged in manufacturing and distribution on a global scale, we are subject to the risks inherent in such activities, including industrial accidents, environmental events, strikes and other labor disputes, capacity constraints, disruptions in ingredient, material or packaging supply, as well as global shortages, disruptions in supply chain or information technology, loss or impairment of key manufacturing sites or suppliers, product quality control, safety, increase in commodity prices and energy costs, licensing requirements and other regulatory issues, as well as natural disasters and other external factors over which we have no control. If such an event were to occur, it could have a material adverse effect on our business.
We use a wide variety of direct and indirect suppliers of goods and services from around the world. Some of our products rely on a single or a limited number of suppliers. Changes in the financial or business condition of our suppliers could subject us to losses or adversely affect our ability to bring products to market. Further, the failure of our suppliers to deliver goods and services in sufficient quantities, in compliance with applicable standards, and in a timely manner could adversely affect our customer service levels and overall business. In addition, any increases in the costs of goods and services for our business may adversely affect our profit margins if we are unable to pass along any higher costs in the form of price increases or otherwise achieve cost efficiencies in our operations.
Our information technology and websites may be susceptible to cybersecurity breaches, outages and other risks.
We rely on information technology (outsourced and in-house) that support our business processes, including product development, marketing, sales, order processing, production, distribution, finance and intracompany communications throughout the world. We have e-commerce, m-commerce and other Internet websites in the United States and many other countries. These systems may be susceptible to outages due to fire, floods, power loss, telecommunications failures, break-ins and other events. Despite the implementation of network security measures, our systems may be vulnerable to constantly evolving cybersecurity threats such as malware, break-ins and similar disruptions from unauthorized tampering. The occurrence of these or other events could disrupt or damage our information technology and adversely affect our business. Insurance policies that may provide coverage with regard to such events may not cover any or all of the resulting financial losses.

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Failure to adequately maintain the security of our electronic and other confidential information could materially adversely affect our business.
We are dependent upon automated information technology processes. As part of our normal business activities, we collect and store certain information that is confidential, proprietary or otherwise sensitive, including personal information with respect to customers, consumers and employees. We may share some of this information with vendors who assist us with certain aspects of our business. Moreover, the success of our e-commerce and m-commerce operations depends upon the secure transmission of confidential and personal data over public networks, including the use of cashless payments. Any failure on the part of us or our vendors to maintain the security of our confidential data and personal information, including via the penetration of our network security and the misappropriation of confidential and personal information, could result in business disruption, damage to our reputation, financial obligations to third parties, fines, penalties, regulatory proceedings and private litigation with potentially large costs, and also result in deterioration in our employees’, consumers’ and customers’ confidence in us and other competitive disadvantages, and thus could have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, a security or data privacy breach could require that we expend significant additional resources to enhance our information security systems and could result in a disruption to our operations. Furthermore, third parties including our suppliers and customers may also rely on information technology and be subject to such cybersecurity breaches. These breaches may negatively impact their businesses, which could in turn disrupt our supply chain and/or our business.
We are subject to risks associated with our global information technology.
Our implementation, maintenance and utilization of global information technology (outsourced, in-house and remote), including operational technology, supply chain and finance systems, human resource management systems, creative asset management and retail operating systems, as well as associated hardware and use of cloud-based models, involve risks and uncertainties. Failure to implement, maintain or utilize these and other systems as planned, in terms of timing, specifications, security policies, costs, or otherwise, could have a material adverse effect on our business.
As we outsource functions, we become more dependent on the entities performing those functions.
As part of our long-term strategy, we are continually looking for opportunities to provide essential business services in a more cost-effective manner. In some cases, this requires the outsourcing of functions or parts of functions that can be performed more effectively by external service providers. These include certain information technology, finance and human resource functions. While we believe we conduct appropriate due diligence before entering into agreements with the outsourcing entity, the failure of one or more entities to provide the expected services, provide them on a timely basis or to provide them at the prices we expect may have a material adverse effect on our business. In addition, if we transition systems to one or more new, or among existing, external service providers, we may experience challenges that could have a material adverse effect on our business.
The trading prices of our securities periodically may rise or fall based on the accuracy of predictions of our financial performance.
Our business planning process is designed to maximize our long-term strength, growth and profitability, not to achieve an earnings target in any particular fiscal quarter. We believe that this longer-term focus is in the best interests of the Company and our stockholders. At the same time, however, we recognize that it may be helpful to provide investors with guidance as to our expectations regarding certain aspects of our business. This could include forecasts of net sales, earnings per share and other financial metrics or projections. We assume no responsibility to provide guidance, or to update any guidance we provide, and any longer-term guidance we may provide is based on goals that we believe, at the time guidance is given, are reasonably attainable for growth and performance over a number of years. We historically have paid dividends on our common stock and repurchased shares of our Class A Common Stock; however, at times we have suspended the declaration of dividends and/or the repurchase of our Class A Common Stock. Going forward, at any time, we could stop or suspend payment of dividends or stop or suspend our stock repurchase program, and any such action could cause the market price of our stock to decline.
In all of our public statements when we make, or update, a forward-looking statement about our business, whether it be about net sales or earnings expectations or expectations regarding restructuring or other initiatives, or otherwise, we accompany such statements directly, or by reference to a public document, with a list of factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those we expect. Such a list is included, among other places, in our earnings press release and in our periodic filings with the SEC (e.g., in our reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q). These and other factors may make it difficult for us and for outside observers, such as research analysts, to predict what our earnings or other financial metrics, or business outcomes, will be in any given fiscal quarter or year.
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Outside analysts and investors have the right to make their own predictions of our business for any future period. Outside analysts, however, have access to no more material information about our results or plans than any other public investor, and we do not endorse their predictions as to our future performance. Nor do we assume any responsibility to correct the predictions of outside analysts or others when they differ from our own internal expectations. If and when we announce actual results that differ from those that outside analysts or others have been predicting, the market price of our securities could be affected. Investors who rely on the predictions of outside analysts or others when making investment decisions with respect to our securities do so at their own risk. We take no responsibility for any losses suffered as a result of such changes in the prices of our securities.
We are controlled by the Lauder family. As a result, the Lauder family has the ability to prevent or cause a change in control or approve, prevent or influence certain actions by us.
As of August 20, 2020, members of the Lauder family beneficially own, directly or indirectly, shares of the Company’s Class A Common Stock (with one vote per share) and Class B Common Stock (with 10 votes per share) having approximately 86% of the outstanding voting power of the Common Stock. In addition, there are four members of the Lauder family who are Company employees and members of our Board of Directors.
As a result of their stock ownership and positions at the Company, as well as our dual-class structure, the Lauder family has the ability to exercise significant control and influence over our business, including all matters requiring stockholder approval (e.g., the election of directors, amendments to the certificate of incorporation, and significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or other sale of our Company or its assets) for the foreseeable future. In addition, if significant stock indices decide to prohibit the inclusion of companies with dual-class stock structures, the price of our Class A Common Stock could be negatively impacted and could become more volatile.
We are a “controlled company” within the meaning of the New York Stock Exchange rules and, as a result, are relying on exemptions from certain corporate governance requirements that are designed to provide protection to stockholders of companies that are not “controlled companies.”
The Lauder family and their related entities own more than 50% of the total voting power of our common shares and, as a result, we are a “controlled company” under the New York Stock Exchange corporate governance standards. As a controlled company, we are exempt under the New York Stock Exchange standards from the obligation to comply with certain New York Stock Exchange corporate governance requirements, including the requirements that (1) a majority of our board of directors consists of independent directors; (2) we have a nominating committee that is composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities; and (3) we have a compensation committee that is composed entirely of independent directors with a written charter addressing the committee’s purpose and responsibilities.
While we have voluntarily caused our Board to have a majority of independent directors and the written charters of our Nominating and Governance Committee and the Compensation Committee to have the required provisions, we are not requiring our Nominating and Governance Committee and Compensation Committee to be comprised solely of independent directors. As a result of our use of the “controlled company” exemptions, investors will not have the same protection afforded to stockholders of companies that are subject to all of the New York Stock Exchange corporate governance requirements.

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments.
Not applicable

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Item 2.  Properties.

The following table sets forth our principal owned and leased manufacturing, assembly, research and development (“R&D”) and distribution facilities, some of which include contiguous office space, as well as our principal executive offices, as of August 20, 2020. The leases expire at various times through 2040 subject to certain renewal options.

The AmericasEurope, the Middle
East & Africa
Asia/Pacific
OwnedLeasedOwnedLeasedOwnedLeased
Manufacturing2 2 3    
R&D1 1    1 
Distribution 6 1 6  2 
Manufacturing and R&D1   1   
Manufacturing and Assembly 2     
Distribution and Manufacturing  1    
Principal Executive Offices 1     
Total4 12 5 7  3 

Certain of our manufacturing facilities are utilized primarily for the production of products relating to particular product categories: eight for makeup; three for skin care and fragrance; and one for skin care and hair care. As demand changes, certain of our manufacturing facilities can produce products from categories other than their primary category.

We consider our properties to be generally in good condition and believe that our facilities are adequate for our operations and provide sufficient capacity to meet anticipated requirements.

Item 3.  Legal Proceedings.

For a discussion of legal proceedings, see Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data – Note 16 – Commitments and Contingencies.

Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures.

Not applicable
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PART II

Item 5.  Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
Market for Registrant’s Common Equity and Related Stockholder Matters
Our Class A Common Stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “EL.”
As part of the cost saving actions and cash conservation measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we did not declare quarterly cash dividends that would have been paid in June 2020. On August 19, 2020, a dividend was declared in the amount of $.48 per share on our Class A and Class B Common Stock. The dividend is payable in cash on September 15, 2020 to stockholders of record at the close of business on August 31, 2020. We expect to continue the payment of cash dividends in the future, but there can be no assurance that the Board of Directors will continue to declare them. 

As of August 20, 2020, there were 2,380 record holders of Class A Common Stock and 13 record holders of Class B Common Stock.
Share Repurchase Program
We are authorized by the Board of Directors to repurchase shares of our Class A Common Stock in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions, depending on market conditions and other factors. The following table provides information relating to our repurchase of Class A Common Stock during the referenced periods:
Period
Total Number of
Shares
Purchased(1)
Average Price
Paid Per Share
Total Number of
Shares Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced Program
Maximum Number
of Shares that May
Yet Be Purchased
Under the
Program(2)
April 2020$ 34,741,624
May 202094175.58 34,741,624
June 202056,308187.16 34,741,624
56,402187.14 
(1)Relates to shares that were repurchased by the Company to satisfy tax withholding obligations upon the payout of certain stock-based compensation arrangements.
(2)The Board of Directors has authorized the current repurchase program for up to 80.0 million shares. The total amount was last increased by the Board on October 31, 2018. Our repurchase program does not have an expiration date.

Beginning in early February 2020, we temporarily suspended our repurchase of shares of the Company's Class A Common Stock. We may resume repurchases in the future.

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Performance Graph
The following graph compares the cumulative five-year total stockholder return (stock price appreciation plus dividends) on the Company’s Class A Common Stock with the cumulative total return of the S&P 500 Index and the S&P Consumer Staples Index. The returns are calculated by assuming an investment of $100 in the Class A Common Stock and in each index on June 30, 2015.
el-20200630_g26.jpg







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Item 6.  Selected Financial Data.
The table below summarizes selected financial information. For further information, refer to the audited consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto beginning on page F-1 of this report.
Year Ended or at June 30
(In millions, except per share data)20202019201820172016
Statement of Earnings Data:
Net sales(1)
$14,294 $14,863 $13,683 $11,824 $11,262 
Net earnings attributable to The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.(1) - (7)
684 1,785 1,108 1,249 1,115 
Per Share Data:
Net earnings attributable to The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. per common share:
Basic(1) - (7)
$1.90 $4.91 $3.01 $3.40 $3.01 
Diluted(1) - (7)
1.86 4.82 2.95 3.35 2.96 
Cash dividends declared per common share(8)
1.39 1.67 1.48 1.32 1.14 
Balance Sheet Data:
Total assets(3) (7)
$17,781 $13,156 $12,567 $11,568 $9,223 
Total debt (2)
6,136 3,412 3,544 3,572 2,242 
(1)Results included charges associated with restructuring and other activities of $68 million, $190 million, $193 million, $143 million and $90 million, after tax, or $.19, $.51, $.51, $.38, and $.24 per diluted common share in fiscal 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
(2)In November 2019, we issued $500 million of 2.00% Senior Notes, $650 million of 2.375% Senior Notes and $650 million of 3.125% Senior Notes in a public offering. These Senior Notes are due in December 2024, 2029 and 2049, respectively. In April 2020, we issued $700 million of 2.60% Senior Notes, due in April 2030 in a public offering. In February 2017, we issued 1.80%, 3.15% and 4.15% Senior Notes in a public offering, each with an aggregate principal amount of $500 million. The 1.80% Senior Notes were repaid in February 2020. The 3.15% and 4.15% Senior Notes become due in March 2027 and March 2047, respectively. In May 2016, we issued $450 million of 1.70% Senior Notes due May 10, 2021 and an additional $150 million of our 4.375% Senior Notes due June 15, 2045 in a public offering. 
(3)Fiscal 2020 results included $1,215 million, after tax, or $3.31 per diluted common share related to goodwill, other intangible and long-lived asset impairments. Fiscal 2019 and 2017 results included $85 million and $23 million, after tax, or $.23 and $.06 per diluted common share related to goodwill and other intangible asset impairments, respectively.
(4)Results included gains (losses) associated with changes in fair value of contingent consideration related to certain of our acquisitions of $16 million, $31 million, $33 million, $44 million, $(8) million and $(6) million, after tax, or $.04, $.08, $.09, $.12, $(.02) and $(.02) per diluted common share in fiscal 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
(5)On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted comprehensive tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “TCJA”), which, among other things, lowered the U.S. corporate statutory income tax rate and established a modified territorial system requiring a mandatory deemed repatriation tax on undistributed earnings of foreign subsidiaries (the “Transition Tax”). See Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data – Note 9 – Income Taxes for further discussion relating to the TCJA. Fiscal 2019 results reflected credits (charges) to adjust the TCJA provisional amounts recorded in fiscal 2018 relating to the Transition Tax, the remeasurement of U.S. net deferred tax assets and the foreign withholding taxes recorded in connection with the reversal of its indefinite reinvestment assertion related to certain foreign earnings of $12 million, or $.03 per diluted common share, $(8) million, or $(.02) per diluted common share and $(9) million, or $(.02) per diluted common share, respectively. Fiscal 2018 results reflected impacts and charges resulting from the TCJA, including the Transition Tax, the remeasurement of U.S. net deferred tax assets and the establishment of a net deferred tax liability related to foreign withholding taxes on certain foreign earnings of $(351) million, or $(.94) per diluted common share, $(53) million, or $(.14) per diluted common share and $(46) million, or $(.12) per diluted common share, respectively.
(6)Fiscal 2020 results included $441 million, after tax, or $1.20 per diluted common share, of Other income, net primarily related to a gain on a previously held equity method investment.
(7)Fiscal 2019 results included $57 million, after tax, or $.15 per diluted common share, related to a gain on liquidation of an investment in a foreign subsidiary, net.
(8)As part of the cost saving actions and cash conservation measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we did not declare quarterly cash dividends that would have been paid in June 2020.





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Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
We manufacture, market and sell beauty products including those in the skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care categories, which are distributed in approximately 150 countries and territories. The following table is a comparative summary of operating results for fiscal 2020, 2019 and 2018 and reflects the basis of presentation described in Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data – Note 2 – Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Note 22 – Segment Data and Related Information for all periods presented. Products and services that do not meet our definition of skin care, makeup, fragrance and hair care have been included in the “other” category.
Year Ended June 30
(In millions)202020192018
NET SALES(1)
By Product Category:
Skin Care$7,382 $6,551 $5,595 
Makeup4,794 5,860 5,633 
Fragrance1,563 1,802 1,826 
Hair Care515 584 570 
Other40 69 67 
14,294 14,866 13,691 
Returns associated with restructuring and other activities (3)(8)
Net sales$14,294 $14,863 $13,683 
By Region:
The Americas$3,794 $4,741 $5,015 
Europe, the Middle East & Africa6,262 6,452 5,634 
Asia/Pacific4,238 3,673 3,042 
14,294 14,866 13,691 
Returns associated with restructuring and other activities (3)(8)
Net sales$14,294 $14,863 $13,683 
OPERATING INCOME (LOSS)(1)
By Product Category:
Skin Care$2,125 $1,925 $1,514 
Makeup(1,438)438 549 
Fragrance17 140 176 
Hair Care(19)39 64 
Other4 12 9 
689 2,554 2,312 
Charges associated with restructuring and other activities(83)(241)(257)
Operating income$606 $2,313 $2,055 
By Region:
The Americas$(1,044)$672 $872 
Europe, the Middle East & Africa997 1,153 865 
Asia/Pacific736 729 575 
689 2,554 2,312 
Charges associated with restructuring and other activities(83)(241)(257)
Operating income$606 $2,313 $2,055 
(1)The net sales and operating income from our travel retail business are included in the Europe, the Middle East & Africa region, with the exception of the net sales of Dr. Jart+ products in the travel retail channel that are reflected in Korea in the Asia/Pacific region.
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During fiscal 2020, changes were made to reflect certain Leading Beauty Forward enhancements made to the capabilities and cost structure of our travel retail business, which are primarily centralized in The Americas region, and resulted in a change to the royalty structure of the travel retail business to reflect the value created in The Americas region. Accordingly, the fiscal 2019 and 2018 operating income of The Americas was increased, with a corresponding decrease in Europe, the Middle East & Africa, by $866 million and $661 million, respectively, to conform with the current year methodology and presentation.

The following table presents certain consolidated earnings data as a percentage of net sales:
Year Ended June 30
202020192018
Net sales100.0 %100.0 %100.0 %
Cost of sales24.8 22.8 20.8 
Gross profit75.2 77.2 79.2 
Operating expenses:
Selling, general and administrative60.4 59.6 62.5 
Restructuring and other charges0.5 1.4 1.7 
Goodwill impairment5.7 0.5  
Impairment of other intangible and long-lived assets4.3 0.1  
Total operating expenses70.9 61.6 64.2 
Operating income4.2 15.6 15.0 
Interest expense1.1 0.9 0.9 
Interest income and investment income, net0.3 0.4 0.4 
Other components of net periodic benefit cost   
Other income, net3.9 0.4  
Earnings before income taxes7.3 15.5 14.5 
Provision for income taxes(2.4)(3.4)(6.3)
Net earnings4.9 12.1 8.2 
Net earnings attributable to noncontrolling interests(0.1)(0.1)(0.1)
Net earnings attributable to The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.4.8 %12.0 %8.1 %
Not adjusted for differences caused by rounding
We continually introduce new products, support new and established products through advertising, merchandising and sampling and phase out existing products that no longer meet the needs of our consumers or our objectives. The economics of developing, producing, launching, supporting and discontinuing products impact our sales and operating performance each period. The introduction of new products may have some cannibalizing effect on sales of existing products, which we take into account in our business planning.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
We use certain non-GAAP financial measures, among other financial measures, to evaluate our operating performance, which represent the manner in which we conduct and view our business. Management believes that excluding certain items that are not comparable from period to period helps investors and others compare operating performance between periods. While we consider the non-GAAP measures useful in analyzing our results, they are not intended to replace, or act as a substitute for, any presentation included in the consolidated financial statements prepared in conformity with U.S. GAAP. See Reconciliations of Non-GAAP Financial Measures beginning on page 46 for reconciliations between non-GAAP financial measures and the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP measures.

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We operate on a global basis, with the majority of our net sales generated outside the United States. Accordingly, fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates can affect our results of operations. Therefore, we present certain net sales, operating results and diluted net earnings per common share information excluding the effect of foreign currency rate fluctuations to provide a framework for assessing the performance of our underlying business outside the United States. Constant currency information compares results between periods as if exchange rates had remained constant period-over-period. We calculate constant currency information by translating current-period results using prior-year period weighted-average foreign currency exchange rates and adjusting for the period-over-period impact of foreign currency cash flow hedging activities.
Overview
COVID-19 Business Update

We continue to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which negatively impacted the second half of fiscal 2020, on all aspects of our business. We have taken significant actions to help protect the health and safety of our employees, beauty advisors and consumers, as well as to effectively manage our business through the rapidly evolving disruptions in our operating environment. We believe we are well-positioned to participate in the markets' recovery.
Beginning in calendar 2020, governments in various countries implemented restrictions to prevent further spread of the virus. These include the temporary closing of businesses deemed “non-essential,” travel bans and restrictions, social distancing and quarantines. As a result, we modified a number of our business practices, in part due to legislation, executive orders and guidance from government entities and healthcare authorities (collectively, “COVID-19 Directives”).

Retail impact
Brick-and-mortar retail stores that sell our products across most countries have experienced temporary or ongoing store closures and, as they re-open, significantly reduced consumer traffic. This impacted the brick-and-mortar retail operations of our customers, as well as our freestanding stores.
In Asia/Pacific, nearly all retail stores have re-opened after many stores closed for most of February 2020 through April 2020.
In Europe, the Middle East & Africa, retail stores began closing in early March 2020 and gradually reopened through June 2020. At the end of June 2020, approximately 15% of the stores remained closed, and by mid-August most had re-opened.
In The Americas, retail stores began closing in mid-March 2020. By the end of June 2020, approximately 20% of the stores remained closed, and by mid-August, most stores had re-opened.
Since mid-March 2020, air travel has been largely curtailed globally, adversely impacting the annual growth trend of our travel retail business.

Somewhat offsetting the significant declines in brick-and-mortar channels, net sales growth of our products online (through our own websites, third-party platforms and websites of our retailers) has accelerated globally.

As the pandemic continues, we are continuing to assess local conditions and when counters and our stores should re-open.

Due in large part to the challenging retail environment and, with respect to the second half of fiscal 2020, uncertainties stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, we recognized Goodwill, other intangible asset and long-live asset impairments. See Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data – Note 6 – Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets and Note 7 – Leases for further information.

Supply Chain impact
During the second half of fiscal 2020, a majority of our facilities continued to manufacture and distribute products globally, albeit in a much-reduced capacity in light of safety measures designed to protect our employees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. By the end of our fiscal year, all manufacturing and distribution facilities were operating with rapidly improving capacity. We have, to date, been able to obtain raw materials and components. At this time, we expect to be able to produce and distribute our products when the demand increases. Our cost of sales was adversely impacted by the timing of expense recognition and other costs, primarily caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the shutdown of certain of our manufacturing facilities and the implementation of social distancing measures. These adjustments resulted in an increase in Cost of sales for the fiscal 2020 fourth quarter and fiscal 2020 of $80 million and $83 million, respectively. Additionally, we recorded an increase in excess and obsolete inventory, which resulted in an increase in Cost of sales for the fiscal 2020 fourth quarter and fiscal 2020 of $121 million and $166 million, respectively.

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Cash Conservation
As the impacts from COVID-19 evolved, we faced various uncertainties and implemented strict cost control measures and took actions to conserve cash. Such actions included:
Expense reductions, including advertising and promotion activities, travel, meetings, consulting, and certain employee costs, including implementing a hiring freeze, furloughs and similar unpaid temporary leaves of absence for many point of sale employees; temporary salary reductions for senior executives and other management employees; and a temporary elimination of cash retainers for the Board of Directors. Combined, these resulted in approximately $800 million of savings in the last five months of fiscal 2020.
Reduced capital investments (e.g., facilities and consumer-facing counters) by approximately $275 million for fiscal 2020.
Temporary suspension of discretionary repurchases of our Class A Common Stock.
Not declaring a quarterly cash dividend that would have been paid in June 2020.
Raising an additional $2,200 million of cash by issuing $700 million of Senior Unsecured Notes and borrowed the full amount under our $1,500 million revolving credit facility. In June 2020, we repaid $750 million borrowed under our revolving credit facility, and, in August 2020, repaid the remaining $750 million.

Government Assistance
During the second half of fiscal 2020, many governments in locations where we operate announced programs to assist employers whose businesses were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including programs that provide rebates to incentivize employers to maintain employees on payroll who were unable to wor