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As Coronavirus Closures Persist, Morphe Lays Off 210 in California

Morphe was valued at $2.2 billion in 2019.

As the coronavirus continues to affect businesses across the globe, cult cosmetics brand Morphe has temporarily laid off at least 210 employees in California, public documents show.

The brand, which sold a 60 percent stake to private equity firm General Atlantic in 2019 at a $2.2 billion valuation, has temporarily let go of many workers across California as of April 21, documents show. Morphe declined to provide further detail or comment, but many of the layoffs were in cities where Morphe stores were located.

The cuts came as COVID-19 continues to affect businesses. Morphe said that it would close stores in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. from March 16 to March 29, and continue to pay store workers during that period. The statement on the company’s web site has not been updated to reflect continued store closures.

Morphe is not the only beauty retailer that has had to make cuts. Sephora laid off some part-time and seasonal employees, and Ulta furloughed some store and salon workers. At Macy’s, which furloughed most of its workers, specialty beauty retailer Bluemercury is said to be up for grabs.

For Morphe, which is known for its colorful, Instagram-friendly makeup offering, retail provided an opportunity for customers to shop IRL versus online. In the past year, Morphe has also ramped up its retail offerings to include third-party brands, including Jeffree Star Cosmetics and Lunar Beauty. Assessing outside brands helped Morphe to diversify in-store offerings, but also helped the retailer get a close-up look at potential investments — which the brand has been looking to make since the General Atlantic deal went through. 

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