President & Chief Executive Officer at Estée Lauder Companies
Thank you, Rainey, and hello to everyone. I want to begin by expressing the great sadness where for our colleagues and all the people impacted by the envision of Ukraine who are experiencing a devastating humanitarian crisis. We continue to focus on our employee safety, and our dearest hope is for peace to prevail.
In the third quarter of fiscal year 2022, we delivered organic sales growth of 9%, in line with our guidance despite the acceleration of temporary COVID-19 restriction in China in March. We exercised cost discipline as volatility increased, and our adjusted operating margin expanded, leading to stronger-than-expected adjusted diluted earnings per share growth of 17%. Our multiple engines of growth strategy enabled us to amplify the engines of the moment amid intensified macro environment, with sales rising organically across both brick-and-mortar and online.
Every category grew organically, led by fragrances' outstanding performance. 11 brands contributed double-digit organic sales growth and further demonstrated our diversified drivers. Consumer demand remains robust even in this inflationary environment. Our largest brands provided highly sought-after, M.A.C, Estee Lauder and Clinique each delivered double-digit growth in makeup, fueling the category renaissance while La Mer thrived in skin care.
Four of our scaling brands resonated strongly with consumers as Jo Malone London, Tom Ford Beauty, Aveda and Bobbi Brown each rose double digits. Among our developing brands, Le Labo, KILIAN PARIS and Bumble and bumble each achieved outsized growth and showcased their promise. Our sales rose double digit organically in the Americas and EMEA. We capitalize on reopening to translate improving brick-and-mortar traffic trends into outstanding sales growth, owing to our high-touch services, breakthrough innovation, hero franchises and operational excellence.
Our freestanding stores delivered exceptional performance benefiting from fleet optimization and expanded omnichannel capabilities and complement the strengths in specialty-multi. We are managing the ongoing complexities from the invasion of Ukraine as well as the temporary COVID-driven restrictions in China, which impacted performance in Asia Pacific in the quarter. In Mainland China, organic sales fell mid-single-digit as 25% growth online was offset by a steep decline in brick-and-mortar.
After a strong February, in Mainland China, traffic slowed more sharply in March to pressure brick-and-mortar sales. Additionally, for us, the distribution centers for our Mainland China business are in Shanghai and operated with limited capacity. Tourism to Hainan Island was also curtailed in March after a vibrant start of the quarter. There is no doubt that these current limitations in China will prove to be transitory, although there will be a far greater impact on our results in the fourth quarter than they were in the third quarter, as Tracey will discuss.
Looking ahead, we are confident in the resilience of the Chinese consumers and the untapped opportunity driving our investments in the market. We expect a reacceleration of growth when this moment of COVID abates. Let me share the progress we made during the third quarter to drive these strong results and advance our long-term ambitions for our multiple engine of growth strategy. Innovation excelled to reach nearly 30% of sales. We continue to elevate our ability to leverage data analytics with our best-in-class creative talent and R&D to successfully anticipate scale and set trends.
The breadth of our innovation wins was far-reaching and benefited every category. In skin care, La Mer upgraded The Treatment Lotion sort as the brand doubled down on this coveted East to West product, increasing the skin recharging Miracle Broth and transitioning to a recyclable luxurious glass bottle that contains 20% post-consumer recycled content. In Asia Pacific, consumer gravitated to the new serum strengths and anti-aging benefits, while in the Americas, educating on the benefits of hydration and energy proved impactful with consumers, demonstrating our expertise in serving multiple needs with one product and communicating with the appropriate local relevance.
For makeup, M.A.C sought to grow its mascara base, especially across Gen Z, younger millennial and multi-ethnic consumers and created MACStack Mascara. With breakthrough technology that stacks and builds the last look. MACStack went viral on TikTok, having now amassed over 153 million views, and its sales far exceeded our expectations in the quarter. Tom Ford Beauty new private blend rose fragrances, feature locally relevant nodes, where Rose De Chine feature Chinese golden peony and Rose D'Amalfi includes Italian bergamot. This launch drove exceptional results globally, including China, where the brand had a very successful Valentine's Day.
Lastly, in hair care, Aveda launched botanical retail strengthening overnight serum, disrupting the category by creating our first overnight serum that builds new hair bonds while you sleep. The products sold key consumer pain points with quick-absorbing technology by leveraging a serum-based formula. Encouragingly, the product quickly rose to being the top-selling product in freestanding store and sold out on brand.com. We are excited to build upon this momentum with our new innovation center in Shanghai opens later this calendar year. This important investment in China will significantly increase our ability to serve the Chinese and Asian consumers with locally relevant and inspired innovation.
Also, the new center will further enable our East to West innovation mindset, supporting the creation of more successes like La Mer's The Treatment Lotion. Looking at our growth engines by category, the strategic decision to pivot our fragrance portfolio to luxury and artisanal is benefit both top line growth and profitability. Fragrances performance in the third quarter was super with sales increasing 31% organically. Impressively, sales exceeded the pre-pandemic third quarter of fiscal year 2019 by nearly 50% on a reported basis.
Jo Malone London, Tom Ford Beauty, Le Labo, KILIAN PARIS and Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle, each delivered double-digit sales growth, and Estee Lauder brand complemented these strengths with its well-received new luxury collection. As consumers around the world increasingly express their individuality with scent, these brands are delivering outstanding results, with strong double-digit growth fiscal year-to-date in every region, driven by demand across channels from brick-and-mortar to online and travel retail.
There freestanding doors are driving omnichannel experiences, while their online businesses have been transformed during the pandemic. And this fragrance brands are also contributing to our sustainability goals, with refillable packaging being a compelling element of the value proposition for Le Labo and KILIAN PARIS. We are also thrilled to announce that during the third quarter, Le Labo became B Corp certified, making it the first major fragrance brand and first within our company to receive this certification, indicating a high level of commitment to sustainability and impact.
Turning to makeup. It was on this call a year ago that we introduced our expectation for makeup renaissance, anticipating it would gradually evolve market by market as social and professional use educations began to resume. We envisioned the category would experience a recovery driven by both restocking as well as a renaissance rooted in a renewed passion for the joy and creativity of makeup after a difficult time.
Even with the rise of the Delta and Omicron variants, the makeup renaissance has delivered very favorable trends and offers great promise for the future. As usual location expanded in certain markets upon reopening in the third quarter, makeup once again delivered double-digit organic sales growth in the Americas and EMEA. M.A.C and Clinique's makeup sales growth accelerated sequentially, while Estee Lauder and La Mer businesses in the category are already ahead of pre-pandemic levels.
While brands have been meticulous in executing their merchandising and innovation strategy for the renaissance, we invested to create the omni artist with meeting the consumers in innovative ways across brick-and-mortar and online to educate inspire new looks and offer the best in personalized high-touch services. M.A.C has been superb in this regard. So, too, has Bobbi Brown with events like live streams from the largest mall in Manchester, England to as per group classes to [domain] in China to one-to-one Zoom sessions in the U.S. Moving to hair care, Aveda, Bumble and bumble have reignited growth engines to contribute to the diversified category growth than we expected for fiscal year 2022.
Impressively, even as these brands grew sales strong double digits in brick-and-mortar or reopening during the third quarter, they also achieved mid-single-digit online growth. Lastly, while skin care was pressured by COVID restrictions in the East, the bright spots were still many. In the quarter, we continued to advance our strategies across many long-term growth drivers from luxury to prestige. La Mer performance was extraordinary, with sales rising strong double digits.
As I discussed, it upgrades The Treatment Lotion sort creating a high effect on the still new hydrate infused emotion, while its heroes were highly sought after. With desirable innovation and coveted icons, La Mer is welcoming new consumers, earning their trust and traded them up as its ultra Genaissance de la Mer franchise is booming. While our high-end prestige skin care thrives with La Mer and Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv, Bobbi Brown is prospering in the heart of the category, thanks to its strategic focus on treasured heroes like vitamin-enriched face base.
We are also laser focused on entry-level prestige to reach new consumers, notably with DECIEM The Ordinary as the brand amplifies its heroes to drive repeat with its ingredient-led regiment-based approach. After the quarter closed, DECIEM announced it will be refining its brand portfolio to focus resources on the compelling opportunity we foresee for The Ordinary and NIOD. During the quarter, we also improved upon the fundamentals of consumer acquisitions, engagement and high-touch services, positioning us well to realize even greater success with trial and repeat.
Our partnership with TikTok expanded, and we are piloting new innovations on the platform to be at the forefront of social commerce innovations. In the U.S., several of our brands launched storefronts on TikTok, similarly linking to brand.com. Brands also expanded their capabilities with Instagram Shopping and launched category powered lenses on Snapchat similarly linked to brand.com.
Clinique realized favorable engagement trends on TikTok and Instagram, and it featured its back in stock coveted Black Honey lipstick and strong recruitment growth with new advertising for Moisture Surgood evening 100 hour featuring the need for social phase of adventure campaign. The Estee Lauder brand entered the metaverse as connecting with our consumer wherever they are is paramount, and we are excited to be testing and learning in this new ecosystem.
Estee Lauder was the exclusive beauty brand partner of Decentraland Metaverse Fashion Week, the first ever large virtual fashion week in an unchanged metaverse. Around the world, our brands are increasingly leveraging new campaign management tools to tailor communication and drive repeat to both reengage with consumers and foster relationships with new consumers. We are realizing increased reactivation and repeat purchase rate from the U.K. to France, Australia and beyond.
In closing, we delivered very strong performance amid the accelerating headwinds during the third quarter. We also made excellent progress advancing the long-term drivers of our multiple engine of growth strategy. These results in this progress are due to the tremendous accomplishments of our employees around the world to whom I extend my deepest thanks as they continue to manage complex situation with grace and ingenuity. Moreover, I'm incredibly inspired by our employees' compassion for each other.
Last week marked the two-year anniversary of the ELC Cares Employee Relief Fund. The fund was created in response to employee increasing desire to support one another in times of need. Since inception, over $10 million has been distributed to employees globally from donations and company matches. Looking ahead, while we are lowering our expectation for the fourth quarter, given the impact of the temporary COVID-driven restrictions in China, we expect to deliver another record year in fiscal year 2022.
We remain incredibly optimistic about the future of our business. This quarter proved the vibrancy of prestige beauty, its resiliency even in a difficult macro environment and the strength of our trusted brands and product innovations as markets sequentially recover from the prolonged pandemic.
I will now turn the call over to Tracey.