A Cosmetics Giant Files for Bankruptcy

Iconic Revlon is struggling to deal with debt, supply issues, changing tastes
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 16, 2022 11:59 AM CDT
A Cosmetics Giant Files for Bankruptcy
Revlon CEO Debra Perelman, the company's first woman CEO in its 89-year history, shows products during an interview, Wednesday Aug. 18, 2021, in New York.   (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File)

Revlon, the 90-year-old multinational cosmetics company, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, weighed down by rising debts, global supply chain disruptions, and new rivals. With household names like Almay to Elizabeth Arden, Revlon has been a mainstay on store shelves for decades, the AP reports. And it's a company that broke race barriers and put supermodels like Iman, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington front and center. It has struggled in recent years, however, with mounting debt, rising competition, and failure to keep pace with changing beauty standards.

The company also faced increased competition from celebrity cosmetics lines like Kylie Jenner's Kylie, which capitalized on their massive social media followings. Revlon’s problems only intensified with the pandemic as sales of lipstick tumbled, with masks the fashion of the era. Sales tumbled 21% in 2020, though those sales bounced back 9.2% in its most recent reporting year. In the latest quarter that ended in March, sales rose nearly 8%. The company avoided bankruptcy in late 2020 by persuading enough bondholders to extend its maturing debt.

The New York-based company said that upon court approval, it expects to receive $575 million in financing from its existing lenders, which will allow it to keep its day-to-day operations running. “Today's filing will allow Revlon to offer our consumers the iconic products we have delivered for decades, while providing a clearer path for our future growth,” said CEO Debra Perelman. During its heyday in the 20th century, Revlon trailed only Avon in sales. It now holds the 22nd spot among cosmetics makers, according to trade journal WWD. One bit of history: In 1970, Revlon became the first beauty company to feature a Black model, Naomi Sims, in its advertising.

(More Revlon stories.)

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