The company's high growth run ended as it recorded a 0.1 per cent fall in sales to €240.1m for the three months ending 31 March, 2008. The comparative strength of the Euro was largely responsible for the disappointing result as sales growth at constant exchange rates continued to be bullish at 4.9 per cent. Beauty beats perfumes Beauty outperformed perfumes over the quarter with sales up 6.6 per cent at constant exchange rates helped by particularly high growth in skin care. Meanwhile the perfumes division, which has a €73.4m share of total sales, grew only 1.2 per cent. Clarins said the division suffered in comparison to 2007 because of its exceptional performance last year but added that the lower growth figure was also caused by the highly competitive environment. Europe lags behind Looking across the different geographical regions, European sales were particularly poor falling 0.8 per cent at constant exchange rates. Again Clarins said this reflected the high comparison basis for make-up and fragrance along with the relative weakness of retail sales in the region. By contrast in North America where many shoppers were staying away from department stores, Clarins succeeded in attracting more customers to its beauty counters than in the same period last year. The company bucked the downward trend but the exchange rate depressed the sales volume increase so sales increased by only 1.7 per cent at average exchange rates. In Asia and other emerging markets Clarins continued to perform strongly recording high double digit growth at constant exchange rates. Looking forward Clarins has maintained its sales forecast of growth between 4 and 6 per cent at constant exchange rates for the fiscal year.