L’Oreal has missed analyst estimates for the first half of the year after high spending on advertising ate into margins.

The French cosmetics giant revealed last night that operating profit had risen 2% to €1.7bn (£1.5bn) compared to the same period the year before. Analysts said this figure was slightly below expectations although the higher spending on advertising and R&D behind the miss gave some reason for cheer.

“Operating margin growth was weak, although this negative growth can be entirely explained by increases in advertising and promotion spend as a percentage of sales and R&D spend as a percentage of sales so we should not complain too much,” said Bernstein analyst Andrew Wood.

L’Oreal announced like-for-like sales growth for the year half of 4.6% in July that was below consensus expectations of 5.9% growth.