Makeup giant Revlon files for bankruptcy after face masks cause lipstick sales to plummet | Economic news

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Cosmetics company Revlon filed for bankruptcy after a turbulent few years, which included a drop in lipstick sales due to face masks.

The company, which broke racial barriers and set beauty trends for much of the last century, has been a mainstay on store shelves since its founding 90 years ago in New York City.

But industry experts say Revlon failed to keep pace with changing tastes and was slow to keep up with women as they traded bright red lipstick for more muted tones in the 1990s.

In addition to losing market share to big rivals like Procter & Gamble, Revlon also failed to capitalize on emerging social media trends and lost out to new cosmetics lines such as Kylie Jenner and d other celebrities who made digital gains.

Then, already lagging behind, Revlon’s problems escalated with the pandemic while lipstick sales fell 21% in 2020 as people were forced to wear masks.

Revlon products are displayed for sale at a Boots store in London, Britain June 16, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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They have rebounded in the company’s last reporting year, but still lag pre-pandemic levels by more than $2.4bn (£1.9bn) a year.

The global supply chain disruptions affecting hundreds of international companies in recent months have ultimately proven to be the nail in Revlon’s coffin.

Put famous models on the map

The company said that, subject to court approval, it expects to receive $575m (£467m) in funding from its existing lenders, which will allow it to continue day-to-day operations.

Debra Perelman, who was appointed President and CEO of Revlon in 2018, said, “Today’s filing will allow Revlon to bring our consumers the iconic products we have offered for decades, while providing a a clearer path for our future growth.

At its height in the 20th century, Revlon trailed only Avon in terms of sales. It now ranks 22nd among cosmetics manufacturers, according to a recent ranking by fashion magazine WWD.

Revlon became the first beauty company to feature a black model in 1970, Naomi Sims.

Former supermodels Carla Bruni (L), Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen show off late Italian designer Gianni Versace's iconic designs during the Versace Spring/Summer 2018 show at Milan Fashion Week in Milan, Italy, September 22, 2017. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
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Former top models Carla Bruni (L), Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Helena Christensen

In the 1980s, the company energized the cosmetics industry by bringing famous and yet-to-be-discovered models like Iman, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington to the fore, promising to make all women “unforgettable”.

Revlon’s operations in the UK and Canada are included in the proceedings, but none of its other international subsidiaries.

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