* 4th-qtr sales fall 20.2 pct
* Latam sales down 26 pct (Adds details, background)
By Yashaswini Swamynathan
Feb 11 (Reuters) - Avon Products Inc reported a bigger-than-expected drop in quarterly sales as demand for its cosmetics declined further in Latin America, its biggest market.
Avon is selling most of its North America business to Cerberus Capital, its biggest investor, after four years of falling sales heighten concerns that its 130-year-old direct-selling model is outdated in a modern consumer environment.
Avon’s sales in Latin America, which accounts for nearly half of its total revenue, fell 26 percent in the fourth quarter.
Sales in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, its second-biggest market, declined 13 percent, hit by a strong dollar.
The company has announced plans to cut costs, invest in technology and tap social media to revive sales as its direct-selling model, under which products are available on order rather than on shelves, fails to attract shoppers seeking instant gratification.
The net loss attributable to Avon widened to $333.4 million, or 76 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31 from $330.7 million, or 75 cents per share, a year earlier.
Total revenue fell 20.2 percent to $1.61 billion.
Analysts on average had expected sales to fall 9.4 percent to $1.82 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Avon reported a loss of $14.8 million, or 4 cents per share, from continuing operations.
Up to Wednesday’s close of $3.25, the company’s stock had lost nearly two-thirds of its value in the past 12 months. (Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey)