Besides the statement on their website, TRESemmé is refusing to answer any questions.
Cape Town – As pressure continues to pile on Clicks, the retailer has announced the closure of all its stores for a day, the resignation of one of its senior executives and the removal of the TRESemmé brand from its shelves with immediate effect.
The health and beauty retailer has also suspended all employees involved in publishing the recent racist advertisement on its website, which referred to an image of a black woman’s hair as “dry and damaged” or “frizzy and dull”, while white woman’s hair was “fine”, “flat” or “normal”.
Clicks chief executive Vikesh Ramsunder said all suspended employees would attend a disciplinary hearing, overseen by an independent, outside chairperson.
Ramsunder said TRESemmé products would be removed from the chain’s shelves with immediate effect.
“Clicks has been involved in extensive discussions with the departments of Labour and Trade and Industry over the past few days, and will be working closely with them to help develop the local beauty market in South Africa,” Ramsunder said.
“We recognise this event has had a significant impact on our people and our customers, and we have taken a decision to close our stores for a day, on Wednesday (today). We will use this opportunity to engage directly with all our store staff across the county, to provide counselling and support. We will be supported by the ICAS Employee Health and Wellness Programme.”
Clicks said it planned to re-open all stores on Thursday, after the high court granted it an interdict preventing the EFF from intimidating and threatening employees and customers, and inciting violence against commercial operations.
“We are prioritising our diversity and inclusion training programme for our head office staff. We will be reviewing its content, extending it wider and implementing it with more urgency and focus. We are working with the SAPS to ensure the safety of our staff, customers and members of the public, and thank them for continuing to shop with us,” Ramsunder said.
TRESemmé said it would not answer media questions at present, and instead referred the Cape Times to its website, where it apologised on its homepage for the images used.
EFF members and supporters in the province said they would continue to picket at Clicks stores today, despite the retailer saying its branches would be closed.
On Monday, the retailer said 425 EFF led-protests were reported at its stores as the party started a five-day national shutdown of its outlets over the racist advertisement, which has since been pulled from its website.
A Cape Town Clicks customer Thandeka Nkupiso said she was surprised to see a store open on Tuesday morning.
“I got in to get a few things – not hair products – and while I was in the queue we were told that the store was about to close, and I knew that the fighters were on their way,” she said.
“Just after a few minutes I heard a large group of people chanting songs, and they forced the store to close. What the store displayed on their website was an insult to black women worldwide.
“Apologising alone is never enough – the action must speak for itself. I have vowed not to purchase any of their hair products, even if they bring them back on their shelves again.”