Every year for the past 62 years, The Estée Lauder Companies has continued to grow. I am proud to report that thanks to the efforts of our 32,000 dedicated employees, we continued that trend with excellent financial results in the 2008 fiscal year.
I am often asked how the Company will maintain its growth record as we look forward to the next era-especially in times as challenging as the present. I believe the answer can be found in our unparalleled multi-national, multi-channel and multi-brand strategy.
As Chairman of the Company, I am extremely gratified by the progress we have made. We have grown from just three brands in the 1960s to a dynamic portfolio of 29 cherished brands today that help women and men look and feel their best. Until 1961, our products were available on only one continent. Today, we sell our stellar brands in more than 140 countries and territories. As our consumers ventured out to try other shopping venues, we also expanded our distribution to match their lifestyles. Our Company's strength lies in its innovation, ability to stay fresh and relevant, and unwavering commitment to "Bringing the Best to Everyone We Touch."
I applaud the efforts of our Chief Executive Officer, William Lauder, and his outstanding leadership team, to amplify our progress in the years ahead. They are working to ensure that we continue to exceed consumers' expectations, that outstanding quality remains the hallmark of our products and services, and that all of our talented people work together to focus our resources on achieving new levels of success.
While the challenges of operating a business on a global scale are great, I am confident that our opportunities are even greater, and that we are well positioned to make the most of those opportunities.
As always, your support of our Company, our brands and our leadership is greatly appreciated.
Leonard A. Lauder