Currency fluctuations and the strong dollar adversely affected the bottom line for Avon Products, Inc., the world’s largest direct seller of cosmetics. New York based Avon missed analyst’s projections as it lost $147.3 million – $.33 per share, compared to $.38 last year — in the first quarter of 2015 ended March 31, as reported this morning. Revenue fell 18 percent to $1.79 billion. Beauty sales fell 17 percent to $1.29 billion but rose 3 percent in constant dollars; fashion and home sales fell 19% but dipped only 3 percent excluding currency exchange rates. Analysts surveyed by Zacks expected revenue of $1.83 billion.

Latin America – with a new tax on cosmetics (‘IPI’) in Brazil – posted a 22 percent drop, the largest decline for the first quarter, while North American sales fell 18 percent, as Europe, the Middle East and Africa declined by16 percent, and Asia and the Pacific fell by 1 percent. Avon had a 1 percent decline in active representatives with a 2 percent decline in total units. On a constant currency basis, total revenue was up 1 percent.

“Overall, the first quarter was in line with our expectations despite currency pressures that were greater than anticipated. Continuing on the momentum we saw in the second half of 2014, I’m encouraged to see improvement in our active representative trends and constant-dollar revenue growth in the majority of our top markets,” said Sheri McCoy, CEO of Avon. “Despite continued foreign exchange pressure, I’m really impressed with how well our teams in market are managing in this volatile environment. This is a payoff for the work we’ve done over the past two years on strengthening our talent and improving core processes.”

Sheri added that she feels the company has the right field reps (Avon has six million reps world-wide) with the “right commercial portfolio of products.” Through product innovation in skin care and fragrance she expects “modest growth in sales and dollars” and believes that “selling to social circles is relevant today.” Avon may move advertising dollars from TV to social media going forward, reasoning, “When women try our products we get great reviews.”

Avon projects revenue in constant dollars to be “up modestly” this year while expecting a negative impact of about 17 points from currencies. It will continue its quarterly dividend of $0.06 per share (a dividend yield of 2.7%).