NEW YORK (AP) – Revlon, a cosmetics maker that broke racial barriers and dictated beauty trends for much of the last century, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The company has been a mainstay on store shelves since its founding 90 years ago in New York City, overseeing a stable of household names, from Almay to Elizabeth Arden. But Revlon failed to keep pace with changing tastes, slow to follow women as they traded flashy red lipstick for more muted tones in the 1990s.
In addition to losing market share to big rivals like Procter & Gamble, newcomer cosmetic lines from Kylie Jenner and other celebrities successfully capitalised on the massive social media following of the famous faces that fronted the products.
Already weighed down by rising debt, Revlon’s problems only intensified with the pandemic as lipstick gave way to a new era in fashion, this one featuring medical-grade masks.
Sales dropped 21 per cent in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, though they rebounded 9.2 per cent in the company’s most recent reporting year with vaccines widespread. In the latest quarter that ended in March, Revlon’s sales rose nearly eight per cent, but still lag pre-pandemic levels in excess of USD2.4 billion a year.