Estee Lauder to cut up to 2,000 jobs as lockdowns hit makeup demand

Estee Lauder

Cosmetics firm Estee Lauder says it is to cut up to 2,000 staff after the coronavirus pandemic caused a hit to sales.

The company, which includes the M.A.C and Too Faced makeup brands, said it was to invest in its online sales operations after stores were hit by global lockdowns and demand dried up through customers staying at home.

Revenues fell 32% to $2.4bn in the final quarter of its financial year covering March to June.

For the year to June as a whole, sales of its makeup brands fell 18%.

It said the job losses, expected to come in between 1,500-2,000, were married to plans to cut at least 10% of its global store space.

The company, which operates in 150 countries and territories including the UK, did not give further information on where the pain would be felt.

Its results suggested tentative signs of recovery, led by China, though it forecast a 13% fall in revenue in the current first quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

Fabrizio Freda, Estee Lauder’s chief executive, told investors investment would focus on its skin care portfolio, acceleration in its Asia/Pacific region, boosting online sales and innovation.

“Our strategic priorities for fiscal 2021 rightly balance investment in these engines with cost discipline amid the ongoing pandemic,” he said.

“Through the Post-COVID Business Acceleration Program announced today, we are better aligning our brick-and-mortar footprint to improve productivity and invest for growth.

“We are well-positioned to drive growth as the market dynamics support it, yet remain equally mindful of the effects of COVID-19 on consumers, the retail sector and economics, in general, as well as geopolitical uncertainty.”