Ulta Beauty furloughs workers, CEO suspends salary

Mike Troy
Editorial Director
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Inside an Ulta Beauty store.

Ulta Beauty is the latest retailer to be crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic. The operator of 1,254 stores announced plans to furlough many of its store and salon employees and implement exceptional financial support measures. It’s also donating 450,000 medical grade gloves used by salon associates to hospitals in need.

“As we navigate this very fluid situation, our teams are evaluating all new information, including recently passed legislation, to ensure we can make the best decisions for our associates, our guests and our business,” said Mary Dillon, Ulta Beauty’s CEO. “After thoughtful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily furlough many of our store and salon associates. During these uncertain times, we will do all we can to make sure these associates are supported.”

The furloughs take effect April 19 and affected employees will be eligible for unemployment benefits which were increased with passage of the federal CARES Act. Employees who were participating in company benefit plans will remain enrolled in their respective coverages, according to the company.

Dillon has elected to indefinitely forgo her base salary and she made a personal donation of $500,000 to the Ulta Beauty Associate Relief Program, which is part of the Ulta Beauty Charitable Foundation. The program, established in 2017, provides monetary grants to associates facing personal hardship. Grant criteria was expanded recently to include those in need of assistance due to a personal hardship as a result of COVID-19. In addition to Dillon, the company said the executive team and the board of directors will also make personal donations.

Ulta’s e-commerce business continues to function and workers there will receive a $2 an hour wage increase, a figure which matches that of other retailers who have taken similar action.

“As we move forward, we intend to stay true to our company values and work towards the day when we can reopen with the most strength and safety as possible,” Dillon said. “This means we will continue to make important decisions in an effort to support our business and importantly, our teams. In these unprecedented times, we want to do our part to help the larger, global community and take care of our Ulta Beauty family. We are in this together.