The Estée Lauder Cos. is closing makeup brand Becca Cosmetics, WWD has confirmed.
Becca will officially shutter in September. The brand’s closure is part of Lauder’s Post-COVID Business Acceleration program, which includes shutting down underperforming retail locations, counters in travel retail and Latin America, and other initiatives.
All Becca employees will lose their jobs. A source told WWD that Lauder is working to shift those employees to other Lauder brands wherever possible. It was not clear how many employees work at the brand.
Lauder said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Wednesday that it planned to “exit global distribution” of Becca in the name of efficiency, and that product demand continued to diminish during the coronavirus pandemic.
Becca is best known for its complexion products and highlighters, including a former highlighter collaboration with influencer Jaclyn Hill called Champagne Pop. But makeup sales were declining before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and they’ve continued to worsen ever since. Lauder had already logged impairment charges for Becca, as well as Too Faced and Smashbox, as consumer demand shifted to skin care over the past few years. Skin care and makeup brand Prescriptives, which had been an online-only business for many years, has also closed.
The Becca news comes one day after Lauder inked a major deal to acquire the rest of Deciem, the parent company of The Ordinary.
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Lauder is not the only beauty business shifting operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost every major strategic player in beauty has revealed divestitures, including Shiseido, which recently inked a deal to sell its personal care brands to CVC Capital. In September, L’Oréal shut down Clarisonic, which it had acquired in 2011.
In 2016, Lauder is said to have paid about $230 million to acquire Becca, then a fast-growing brand. At that time, makeup — driven by selfies and social media — was booming.
Industry sources have told WWD that Lauder is evaluating its brand portfolio and considering divestitures, which Tracey Travis, Lauder executive vice president and chief financial officer, has confirmed. “We always look at rationalizing the portfolio from a divestiture standpoint,” Travis said in an interview earlier in February, noting that the rationalization process applies to stores, counters and brands.
A spokeswoman for Lauder said in a statement: “As part of the Post-COVID Business Acceleration Program, which ELC announced in August 2020, the company is ensuring that it is focused on the most strategic long-term growth opportunities globally. As part of this process, difficult decisions must be made. After a careful and thorough review, ELC has made the decision to shut down Becca Cosmetics by the end of September 2021. Due to a combination of macro forces compounded by the global effects of COVID-19, the brand could not sustain success for the long term. We are so proud of the Becca brand team and all that they have accomplished over the years. We are handling this matter with sensitivity, both internally and externally. For those who have supported the brand for 20 years, and those who will stand by the brand through this wind down, we thank you.”
A spokeswoman for Becca said in a statement: “At Becca Cosmetics, an accumulation of challenges, together with the global impact of COVID-19, has sadly been more than our business can withstand, which is why we had to make the heartbreaking decision to shut down the brand by the end of September 2021. We are confident that the spirit of Becca brand will continue to live on through our Becca Beauties. Please keep illuminating your true selves. Light your own paths and push your limits. Share positivity and light the way for others as you make an impact on this world. Own your light on your own terms. For 20 years, we’ve built incredible connections with our communities — consumers, makeup artists, our wonderful network of influencers and our amazing brand collaborators and brand ambassadors from yesterday and today. We’ve done meaningful work together supporting mental wellness and will continue to do so through our commitment to The Trevor Project this coming June. Together, we have put our best light out into the world, and for that we are forever grateful.”
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