Feb 3, 2021
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Ulta commits $25 million to new D&I goals, Tracee Ellis Ross named D&I advisor

Feb 3, 2021

Bolingbrook, Illinois-based beauty retail giant Ulta Beauty has announced it will be putting more than $25 million into its new diversity and inclusion commitments for 2021, and has named multi-hyphenate, and CEO and founder of haircare brand Pattern Beauty, Tracee Ellis Ross, as the company’s diversity and inclusion advisor. 

Twitter @TraceeEllisRoss

As part of these initiatives, the company said in a press release that it will double the number of Black-owned brands in its assortment by the end of 2021. In addition, the company said it will dedicate $4 million to marketing support of Black-owned brands within the company’s assortment to fuel brand awareness and sustain growth.

The company said it would allocate approximately $20 million "to media investments across endemic and multi-cultural platforms to create more personal connections with Latinx, Black and other communities, more than doubling the spend of the last three years."

In her role as diversity and inclusion advisor, Ross will provide counsel and insight, and drive accountability to Ulta Beauty with a specific focus on BIPOC brand development, diverse leadership development and supplier diversity, Ulta said. She will join internal Executive D&I Council Summits quarterly. The executive council is chaired by Mary Dillon, CEO of Ulta Beauty.

Ross's haircare brand dedicated to people with curls ranging from 3B to 4C textures, first launched exclusively with Ulta in September of 2019. 

“As the country’s beauty retail leader, we believe we have the power to shape how the world sees beauty and as such, we have a responsibility to inspire positive change and drive greater diversity, inclusivity and equity,” said Dillon.

“We are deeply committed to leading purposefully with and for underrepresented voices across retail and beauty on our D&I journey.”

Ross added: “I look forward to formalizing an already existing dialogue and partnership around diversity and inclusion with Mary Dillon and the Ulta Beauty team. This work requires commitment and accountability from Ulta Beauty to ensure measurable goals are achieved. I am hopeful and optimistic our work together will create foundational change.”

At a store level, the company said it will introduce quarterly, in-store training for all store and salon associates in March of 2021 to reinforce inclusivity and address unconscious bias. Two million dollars will be allocated to this training. Building upon its Race Matters Leadership Training, which debuted in 2020, the company said it will implement a "mandatory 2.0 version" across field, distribution center and corporate associates in 2021.

To further boost its in store associate experiences, the company said it has launched inclusive recruiting efforts with a diverse slate mandate, established a Diverse Leaders Program, and ensured that annual performance reviews include evaluation against the core value of Champion Diversity and the key competency of Inclusion.

In December, Ulta announced a 7.8% decline in third-quarter net sales as the Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on business. For the third quarter ended October 31, 2020, the company’s sales totaled $1.6 billion compared to $1.7 billion in the third quarter of fiscal 2019, while comparable sales and e-commerce sales for the quarter fell 8.9 percent compared to an increase of 3.2 percent in the third quarter prior.

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