After closing all of its US stores last month, Sephora laid off over 3,000 employees across the US who had been with the company for a short tenure and worked limited hours, the company announced in a Tuesday statement on its website.
Before the layoffs, Sephora employed almost 13,000 US store employees. In a statement on the company's website, Sephora President and CEO Jean-André Rougeot said more than 9,000 store employees in the US remained employed and that they would be paid based on their average hours worked. They will also receive existing health benefits through late May or until stores reopen.
Brittney Coorpender, a former skin-care adviser in a California Sephora store who was laid off, described the moment she heard she and thousands of other employees were let go.
Coorpender, who had worked with the company for a year and half, said she was notified that there would be a conference call on Tuesday afternoon conducted by her district manager for some employees in her district, less than an hour after she had completed a check-in call with her manager regarding her job performance. She said she was told about the conference call about 10 minutes in advance.
Coorpender said she and her fellow employees were asked to mute themselves on the call and then informed that they were being let go, effective immediately, and they might be able to reapply in the future.
"You could hear everyone absolutely sobbing," Coorpender said about what it was like after the call was finished. "I hung up as soon as I heard the first person cry at the end. I couldn't take it. I was in tears myself."
"All have been offered severance and provided with support resources, including coordination with companies that provide essential services and may be hiring at this time," Sephora said in a statement. "It is our sincerest hope that we are able to bring these employees back on staff in the near future."
Rougeot announced in an email to shoppers on March 16 that the company would close all of its stores in the US and Canada through April 3. At the time, Rougeot wrote that all employees would "continue to receive their base pay for scheduled shifts."
"Our managers were just as blindsided as we were," Coorpender said of the layoffs.
Sephora's Full Statement:
As we continue to navigate these challenging times, the health and safety of our employees, their families, and the community remains our first priority. Therefore, all Sephora stores across the US will remain closed until we can responsibly welcome back clients and staff, in accordance with guidance from public health authorities. With the extended store closure and reality of the situation right now, we need to continue to navigate this crisis responsibly to ensure the long-term health of our business. With a smaller workforce required to execute in this new environment, we have made the difficult decision to let go of a portion of our part-time and seasonal store employee base. All have been offered severance and provided with support resources, including coordination with companies that provide essential services and may be hiring at this time. It is our sincerest hope that we are able to bring these employees back on staff in the near future. Remaining part- and all full-time store employees, which represent the vast majority of our field workforce, will continue to be paid 100 percent based on average hours worked through late May (or until our stores reopen, whichever happens sooner) and will continue to receive their benefits. This prolonged crisis has required many companies to make tough decisions, and we are no different. With a strong future in mind, we believe our decisions now will help ensure we are able to reopen our doors for our community when that time comes.