End of the Avon lady

Cos­met­ics firm clos­ing in NZ

The New Zealand Herald - - FRONT PAGE - — news.com.au, NZ Her­ald

Global cos­met­ics giant Avon has an­nounced it will be leav­ing New Zealand and Aus­tralia.

In a state­ment, the com­pany con­firmed Avon would close its op­er­a­tions in Aus­tralia and New Zealand by the end of the year, leav­ing the com­pany’s 220 staff and more than 21,400 rep­re­sen­ta­tives fac­ing an un­cer­tain fu­ture.

The state­ment read: “As part of the com­pany’s strat­egy to re­turn Avon to long-term sus­tain­able prof­itable growth, the fo­cus will be on mar­kets with the great­est po­ten­tial for fu­ture growth to sup­port its vi­sion of be­com­ing the world’s lead­ing so­cial beauty com­pany.

“In line with this, af­ter a thor­ough de­lib­er­a­tion on our per­for­mance, the di­rect sell­ing con­di­tions in the mar­ket, and po­ten­tial for growth, we have con­sid­ered all op­tions for the busi- ness and it is with much sad­ness that we are an­nounc­ing our de­ci­sion to exit the Aus­tralia and New Zealand mar­kets.”

Avon ANZ pres­i­dent and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Sharon Plant said it was a “sad day” for the com­pany’s em­ploy­ees and rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

“As a man­age­ment team our com­mit­ment and fo­cus over the com­ing days, weeks and months is to sup­port our peo­ple and the wider Avon com­mu­nity who are im­pacted by this de­ci­sion,” Plant said.

“I would like to thank all the em­ploy­ees, rep­re­sen­ta­tives and cus­tomers who have sup­ported Avon in Aus­tralia and New Zealand over the years.”

The cos­met­ics com­pany, which was founded in New York in 1886, is fa­mous for its di­rect-sell­ing method.

It has branches through­out the globe, reach­ing Aus­tralia in 1963 and New Zealand in 1978. In 2016 the com­pany had an­nual world­wide sales of US$5.7 bil­lion ($7.7b) — but the brand has strug­gled with plum­met­ing sales for the past five years.

It re­mains the world’s fifth-largest beauty com­pany and the sec­ond largest di­rect sell­ing en­ter­prise, although in 2016, the com­pany sold off its Amer­i­can busi­ness with all op­er­a­tions now out­side the US.

Ac­cord­ing to Forbes, Avon was the sec­ond largest beauty brand in the world in 2012 with a brand value of US$7.9b.

Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s web­site, Avon prod­ucts are avail­able in more than 100 coun­tries.

The com­pany says its prod­ucts are sold through more than 6 mil­lion ac­tive in­de­pen­dent Avon Sales Rep­re­sen­ta­tives around the world. The com­pany has “many thou­sands” of rep­re­sen­ta­tives across both Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

The com­pany traced its roots back to 1886, when strug­gling door-to-door sales­man David Mc­Connell made the de­ci­sion to sell per­fumes, rather than books, to New York homes, the com­pany’s web­site says.

At that time the com­pany was known as The Cal­i­for­nia Per­fume Com­pany. The busi­ness did well and Mc­Connell ap­pointed his first gen­eral agent — Per­sis Fos­ter Eames Al­bee.

“At a time be­fore women even had the right to vote, Mrs Al­bee was in­stru­men­tal in es­tab­lish­ing the unique sales method that con­tin­ues to be Avon’s hall­mark to­day,” the web­site says.

Mc­Connell wanted to ex­pand the com­pany over­seas and recog­nised a need to change the com­pany name.

“Hav­ing been en­chanted by the beauty of Strat­ford upon Avon dur­ing a visit to Eng­land, David Mc­Connell was in­spired, and in 1939 he chose the name ‘Avon’ for his grow­ing in­ter­na­tional com­pany.”

As a man­age­ment team our com­mit­ment and fo­cus over the com­ing days, weeks and months is to sup­port our peo­ple and the wider Avon com­mu­nity who are im­pacted by this de­ci­sion. Sharon Plant, Avon ANZ pres­i­dent

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