Beauty retailers were not immune to looting and damages amid the national protests this week over the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police department.
Ulta Beauty and Sephora both confirmed to WWD Beauty Inc that several stores in multiple cities were impacted. Both retailers closed store locations in response, at a time when they were just starting to reopen after weeks of coronavirus-induced closures.
“With the safety of our associates, guests and the communities where we operate, we can confirm stores in cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia and Orlando, among others, were damaged and looted throughout the past few days. Of course, those stores have been closed to assess and repair,” an Ulta spokesperson wrote in an e-mailed statement to WWD Beauty Inc. “In an abundance of caution, we have proactively closed other stores to ensure safety where necessary.”
Ulta did not specify the number of stores impacted, though as of last week, it had begun to open 840 stores for curbside pickup and 333 doors for in-store shopping. The retailer’s sales dipped 32 percent in the last quarter.
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Chief executive officer Mary Dillon said on the company’s earnings call last week that she expected “the vast majority of stores to reopen in some capacity” by the end of June. It is not clear yet to if the looting and damages will disrupt that plan.
Sephora also did not specify the number of stores damaged and in which locations, but told WWD the retailer’s plans for reopening are now delayed.
“While there was some damage to several stores in various metro areas across the country, we will make the necessary repairs,” a spokesperson for Sephora wrote to WWD. “In states where we’d begun our phased reopening, we will reopen only when it is safe to do so. All other stores that were not yet scheduled to reopen will remain closed as we monitor this quickly evolving situation, and all employees staffed at these stores will be paid and receive benefits as planned, as well as access to counseling and support resources. Right now, the safety of our employees and clients is our most important priority.”