A ‘difficult decision’: Lush halts European business entirely amid COVID-19

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Lush Europe said it would review its decision to suspend online business in three weeks
Lush Europe said it would review its decision to suspend online business in three weeks

Related tags coronavirus COVID-19 Lush Beauty retail e-commerce

Cosmetics major Lush has halted European business, suspending online orders and deliveries on top of store closures to protect staff during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This week, Lush announced that, in addition to shuttering store doors, it had now also put “a pause on all online orders” ​and would review the situation in three weeks.​ Lush USA was currently still accepting online orders despite store closures.

Coronavirus situation ‘constantly changing’

In statements issued across its European websites, Lush said: “With the situation constantly changing, we have decided to temporarily close our website. We will keep this decision constantly under review.”

Responding to a consumer post on its UK website, the company added: “We need to put our staff’s wellbeing first, so we’ve made the difficult decision to temporarily close our manufacturing and fulfilment sites. This will help protect our teams and make sure they can do the right thing to keep their families and community safe.”

Lush said it would maintain consumer engagement on its social media platforms, notably YouTube, Instagram and TikTok during this business pause.

Online represents 11% Lush global sales

While Lush had a sizeable 900+ global store network, online only represented 11% of total sales and Paul Wheatley, global property director at Lush, previously told CosmeticsDesign-Europe that digital was simply there to “aid and enhance the physical side of the business, not replicate or replace it”.

Wheatley said: “Despite the challenges of running physical shops at a time when the retail industry is going through upheaval, I believe that bricks and mortar retail spaces are here to stay.”

In November, last year, Lush opened its second-largest European high street store in Munich​ – a 689-square metre, three-storey location featuring a florist, coffee kiosk and community space.

Not long before that, it also opened concept stores in Florence and Paris, and a series of ‘Naked’ stores in Milan, Berlin, Manchester and Hong Kong, marking a clear dedication to bricks and mortar expansion.

Digital power for beauty brands amid coronavirus

Elsewhere in the beauty world, other companies had leveraged a strong digital presence to maintain e-commerce during the coronavirus outbreak, despite store closures and consumer lockdowns.

In Asia-Pacific, online retail major A.S. Watson underlined the importance of digital investments at a time like this​, noting that e-commerce models enabled companies to respond swiftly in tough situations. Singapore indie brand Rock & Herb told sister site CosmeticsDesign-Asia it had even ramped up efforts in digital​ as it fought to survive the COVID-19 crisis.

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