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Amorepacific, LG Household shine with record earnings

SEOUL -- South Korean cosmetics giants Amorepacific Group and LG Household & Health Care generated record sales and profits for the July-September quarter despite an outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome that deterred foreign tourists.

     Both companies saw heavy sales of high-end cosmetics at duty-free stores in South Korea and abroad. 

     Amorepacific Group generated 188.3 billion won ($168 million) in operating profit, up 8% year over year. Core unit Amorepacific's domestic business slowed as foreign tourists stayed away after the MERS outbreak. But overseas sales soared 60%. In addition to emerging markets like China and Southeast Asia, the U.S. business also grew.

     LG Household & Health Care reported a 27% jump in operating profit to 190.2 billion won. Sales rose for Whoo, su:m and other premium cosmetics brands. Toiletries such as shampoo fared well, too. Baby product brand Babience, which the company is promoting using mobile devices, logged a 53% increase in sales.

     Cosmetics are becoming a major industry in South Korea, along with electric machinery, steel and chemicals.

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