Mary Dillon, CEO of Ulta Beauty, joins CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” to discuss demand and the fallout of the coronavirus shutdown.
Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon said she’s encouraged by Washington’s efforts to stimulate the economy during the coronavirus pandemic, but said millions of laid off or furloughed retail workers will need sustained support.
“We need companies to survive. We need people to go back to work,” she said in an interview with “Squawk on the Street” Wednesday. “And so we are counting on making sure that the bill that passes really thinks this through and gives us options in terms of liquidity and capital.”
Dillon is chair of the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a lobbying group for retailers, product manufacturers and service suppliers.
About 1 in every 4 people work in retail in the U.S. Some retailers, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, are seeing a peak in demand, but Dillon said a huge swath of stores are closed and millions of people are out of work.
Ulta is one of dozens of U.S. retailers that have temporarily shuttered stores because of the coronavirus pandemic. The retailer is continuing to pay its workers’ wages and benefits.
The company is still selling cosmetics and skin-care products online, but said even with these operations retailers can struggle, Dillon said.
“A lot of times, people think it’s great that e-commerce is up and running, which is great, but 80% to 85% of retail sales still happen in brick-and-mortar stores,” she said.
Ulta said Monday that it’s drawn down $800 million in revolving credit and is “re-evaluating the pace and timing of its stock repurchase program.” The company said it’s slashed inventory and capital expenditure plans, too.
The beauty industry faces unique challenges with the pandemic. Customers may be less likely to buy makeup as they work from home, cancel social plans and have tighter budgets due to layoffs or furloughs. With stores closed, customers can’t get in-person recommendations from beauty consultations or try testers to pick out of a lipstick.
Dillon said the company is encouraging customers to use its digital tool, called “Glam Lab,” to virtually try on different makeup or find the right color match. She said Ulta has seen customers purchases essentials online, such as shampoo and conditioner, along with self-care items like masks and skin care to pamper themselves at home.
For more coronavirus live updates:
For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://www.cnbc.com/pro/?__source=youtube%7CDEK
» Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision
» Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC
» Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic
Turn to CNBC TV for the latest stock market news and analysis. From market futures to live price updates CNBC is the leader in business news worldwide.
Connect with CNBC News Online
Get the latest news: http://www.cnbc.com/
Follow CNBC on LinkedIn: https://cnb.cx/LinkedInCNBC
Follow CNBC News on Facebook: https://cnb.cx/LikeCNBC
Follow CNBC News on Twitter: https://cnb.cx/FollowCNBC
Follow CNBC News on Instagram: https://cnb.cx/InstagramCNBC