The Rituals store in New York’s Flatiron

Rituals Cosmetics has shuttered five of its California stores, according to public filings under the WARN Act.

Five separate WARN notices filed in California on April 13 list Rituals locations in San Diego, Newport Beach, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Walnut Creek as permanently closed. Thirty-seven employees were affected as a result of the closures, according to the filings.

When contacted by WWD, a spokesperson for Rituals said, “Currently circumstances for reopening are unknown at this time due to the pandemic,” seemingly indicating that the stores could reopen at some point in the future, despite the public filings stating they have closed permanently. Rituals did not respond when asked to elaborate.

While many companies, especially retailers, have been forced to lay off staff in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, most list “temporary layoff,” as the reason for separation when filing a public notice.

If, as the filings state, the stores are permanently closed, Rituals is left with only one freestanding store in California, located in Palo Alto.

The Dutch body-care brand operates in over 25 countries across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, primarily in stand-alone stores and travel retail, and has announced plans to reach more than 1,000 stores by 2021. The company was founded in 2000 by a former Unilever executive, Raymond Cloosterman.

A few years ago, Rituals made a big push in the U.S., opening 12 stores in New York and New Jersey and the six locations in California. Rituals products are also sold here through Macy’s, Ulta Beauty and CosBar.

“This year, we are making significant efforts to create a footprint in the U.S.,” said Cloosterman in a 2018 interview with WWD. “At a time when everybody is closing down stores, we’re opening two or three a week.”

Rituals is not the only beauty brand to have embarked on a stand-alone store spree in the last five years. With many apparel retailers shuttering units and rent rates dropping, beauty brands like Lush and NYX rapidly expanded their door counts across the U.S. The trend saw mixed success. In 2019, E.l.f. Cosmetics announced it was closing all its stand-alone doors, many of them in malls or shopping centers rife with other stand-alone beauty stores.

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