Lakme Lever sales declined 19%, slipped into losses during FY20-21

Lakme Lever, the beauty-service unit of (HUL), shrunk 19% in sales during the year ended March 2021, hurt by India’s increasing focus on social distancing nationwide and shutting salons and non-essential outlets for several weeks.

The company, which runs 485 salons, posted sales of Rs230 crore during FY21, compared to Rs284 crore a year ago. The firm also slipped into losses – with net loss of Rs19 crore during the year against profit of Rs6 crore in FY20.

“The profitability for the year has been largely impacted on account of Covid outbreak. After a stringent lock down which disrupted operations in the first half, the company in the second half of the year has sequentially improved performance to almost previous periods revenue,” HUL said in its latest annual report.

The Rs 20,000 crore salon industry has about 65 lakh beauty parlours and barber shops. And just like other services sectors such as retail and restaurants, the salon segment has been hit hard due to closure as they are deemed non-essential in several states.

“Post the second wave of Covid starting March 2021, salon operations are affected due to lock downs as per government guidelines. The company is leveraging the digital medium to train our experts and to stay in touch with our clients,” it added.

While the Lakme brand is worth more than Rs 1,000 crore in revenue, cosmetics products such as eye-liners and lipsticks generate a bulk of its sales instead of beauty services.

The current pandemic has affected most discretionary categories but the beauty-services industry could be hit more than some others, with people relying increasingly on do-it-yourself services at home.

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