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At Home And Ulta Beauty Scale Back, But Makeup Tutorial Interest Shows Beauty Is Still Alive

Retailers are continuing to adjust their operations as COVID-19 warps the retail landscape, with At Home closing the majority of its stores except for delivery and curbside pickup, and Ulta Beauty furloughing most of its associates. However, there is still some good news to be found: Ulta also is increasing pay for its warehouse workers by $2 per hour, and YouCam has seen the time spent viewing its in-app livestream beauty tutorials double, showing that beauty is still thriving online.

At Home is offering pickup and next-day delivery as permitted by local and state. Further efforts to preserve liquidity despite the store closings included eliminating 10% of home office roles, primarily in the areas of new store development and openings, and furloughing 30% of home office staff.

Additionally, the executive team will take salary cuts of 10% to 30%, while CEO Lee Bird will forgo 100% of his salary for the duration of the furlough. At Home will continue to fund both the employee and employer portions of health insurance premiums during this period.

Ulta Beauty will furlough “many” of its store and salon associates, while CEO Mary Dillon will forgo her salary and make a $500,000 donation to the Ulta Beauty Associate Relief Program. The program, which provides grants to Ulta associates facing personal hardship, has been expanded to include those in need of assistance due to COVID-19.

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However, consumers’ interest in beauty remains strong even while they’re stuck at home: YouCam Makeup has reported a 32% increase in daily virtual try-ons and 50% more calls through its Beauty Advisor 1-on-1 service, in addition to the 2X increase in time spent watching YouCam livestream shows. This could be a good omen for beauty retailers, whether it means that their e-Commerce sales could rise in the near future, or that shoppers will be ready to flood their stores after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

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