L’Oréal freezes payments from salons to help with cash flow

Cosmetics giant supplies more than 700 salons in the Republic

A L’Oréal distribution centre in the UK.

A L’Oréal distribution centre in the UK.

 

French cosmetics giant L’Oréal said it would not take payments from the more than 700 salons it supplies in the Republic until they are in a position to reopen.

Announcing a suite of measures to help its partners, the company said it also shortened its payment times for small suppliers who have been most exposed to the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also on Thursday, L’Oréal said it would donate 40,000 hygiene and care products to front-line healthcare workers in the Republic and 10,000 hand sanitisers manufactured under the La Roche Posay brand. Additionally, the company’s Garnier brand will distribute 27,000 free hand-sanitiser bottles to independent pharmacies, Dunnes Stores and Boots.

Vismay Sharma, managing director of L’Oréal UK and Ireland, said the company intended to continue selling hand sanitisers under the Garnier and La Roche Posay brands once the crisis passes.

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As for the company’s other product lines, Mr Sharma expects sales of beauty products to bounce back when consumer spending is no longer constrained.

“Usually when you have challenges or crises, and that’s true of financial crises, people look for opportunities where they can feel good about themselves and beauty is one of the easiest way to do that,” Mr Sharma said.

The company does not disclose sales figures for its Irish operations.

Like other consumer product manufacturers, L’Oréal will be faced with a slimmer selection of retailers when shops reopen, given the collapse of Debenhams and other names in the Republic.

Mr Sharma noted that this is unlikely to materially affect the company. “When there is consumer demand, products always find a way,” he said, adding that a considerable amount of buying is now online.

He added that the company had learned from the Sars and Mers outbreaks that consumers tend to return to buying cosmetics once the outbreaks fade. “Once things come back to normal we’ve seen a surge in demand,” he said of those previous experiences.