OPERATIONS

Sephora pauses for diversity training June 5

BY Dan Berthiaume

Specialty beauty retailer Sephora is taking decisive action after a celebrity said she received discriminatory treatment in a Sephora store.

In a short post and video on its official Facebook page, Sephora explained its plans for June 5.

“On the morning of 6/5, every Sephora store, distribution center, and corporate office in the U.S. will close to host inclusion workshops for our employees,” says the statement. “These values have always been at the heart of Sephora, and we’re excited to welcome everyone when we reopen. We Belong to Something Beautiful.”

The post also provides a link to a page dedicated to the retailer’s “We Belong to Something Beautiful” inclusion effort. A video on the retailer’s Facebook and a posting on the We Belong to Something Beautiful page both feature this statement:

“Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our differences. We will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed, and you are included. We Belong to Something Beautiful.”

Sephora is taking these steps in the wake of a highly publicized April 30 incident where Grammy Award-winning artist SZA, who is African-American, tweeted she had been racially profiled by an associate in a Sephora store in Calabasas, Calif., who accused her of stealing merchandise.

Sephora told Today that the training initiative is not in direct response to the SZA incident, but has been planned for more than a year as part of the retailer’s broader “We Belong to Something Beautiful” campaign.

The shutdown will affect 400 Sephora stores. In May 2018, Starbucks closed all of its company-owned U.S. stores and corporate headquarters for a training program designed to address racial bias. The retailer acknowledged the training was a response to an incident where two African-American men were arrested for trespassing after attempting to use the bathroom in a Philadelphia Starbucks store (no charges were filed in the incident).

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