With stores shut, Ulta Beauty furloughs staff

Reports also cite cuts at Chicago-based Groupon as employers contend with virus-related business stoppage.

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Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon with then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel at the opening of the retailer’s Michigan Avenue store in 2017.

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With its 1,200 stores closed across the country because of the coronavirus, Ulta Beauty said Wednesday it is furloughing store and salon workers. The Bolingbrook-based company declined to say how many workers are affected.

Meanwhile, Chicago-based Groupon is furloughing “significant portions” of its sales and sales operations teams, media outlets reported, citing an email from Interim CEO Aaron Cooper. The company could not be reached for comment.

Ulta said its furloughs would take effect April 19 and that it has “every intention of bringing its workforce back when it is safe to do so.” The company said health insurance will continue for those enrolled in that benefit and workers can file for unemployment benefits.

Work at the company’s distribution centers continues, as Ulta is supporting e-commerce sales. Employees there are getting a $2-per-hour wage increase, the company said.

Ulta’s CEO, Mary Dillon, is forgoing her base salary indefinitely and making a $500,000 donation to the company’s charitable fund that supports its associates undergoing financial distress. Other executives and board members also are donating to the fund, the company said.

Dillon’s last reported base salary was $1.15 million in 2018.

“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,” Dillon said.

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