Why Sephora stores in the US are shutting down for a bit on June 5

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Beauty juggernaut Sephora will shut down more than 400 stores in the United States for a few hours on Wednesday, June 5 (US time), to host inclusion workshops for its employees. 

This comes more than a month after singer SZA had a bad experience in the shop's store in posh Calabasas, California. SZA had tweeted that during a Sephora run to restock on fellow singer Rihanna's makeup line Fenty, the store “called security to make sure [she] wasn’t stealing.”

Sephora responded to SZA's tweet, saying: "We’re sorry to hear about your experience at our Calabasas store and appreciate you bringing this to our attention. We want to let you know we take complaints like this very seriously and are actively working with our teams to address the situation immediately."

Join us in our commitment to a more inclusive beauty community. We Belong to Something Beautiful. https://t.co/bOPts8SjPu pic.twitter.com/4WfwBiEaME — Sephora (@Sephora) May 23, 2019

In recent years, Sephora has championed itself as inclusive. It also walked the talk, partnering with minority-owned brands including Pat McGrath Labs, Fenty Beauty, and Huda Beauty, notes Forbes. Those 3 brands have enjoyed immense success since their launch. 

Rihanna's Fenty, for instance, made waves in the beauty industry when it decided to launch 40 shades of foundation – offering shades for the palest to darkest of skin tones, as one of its very first products. SZA herself has starred in one of Fenty's campaigns. 

The incident of racial profiling (in a Calabasas store, no less) is a potentially huge blow to Sephora not just for its image but its bottomline. "Diverse representation contributes to the success of Sephora, one of the main growth engines of LVMH's selective retailing group that generated 28% of the group's sales in 2018," said Forbes

Sephora isn't the first company to shut down for diversity training. International coffee chain Starbucks did the same in 2018,  a day-long training that cost the company over $16.7 million.

Forbes reported that the  impact of the training on Sephora's bottomline won't be known until the third quarter. – Rappler.com