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Sephora to shut US stores for a day to conduct diversity training after racial incident

LVMH’s Sephora beauty chain said it will close all its U.S. stores, distribution centers and corporate offices on Wednesday to conduct diversity training for employees, a move that follows a racial incident involving a Grammy-nominated singer.

R&B singer SZA, who is black, said in April she was racially profiled at a Sephora store in Calabasas, California.

“We have been informed of an incident at our Calabasas store and in addition to reaching out to SZA directly, we are gathering more information about the incident in order to take the proper next steps,” Emily Shapiro, a spokeswoman for Sephora, told Reuters in an email. “We take complaints like this very seriously, profiling on the basis of race is not tolerated at Sephora.”

SZA said a Sephora employee she identified as “Sandy” called security to make sure the singer was not stealing from the store. “We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy,” SZA said in a Twitter post.

Shapiro said the Sephora closures were not “a response to any one event,” saying that planning for the “inclusivity workshops” had been in progress for several months and that a broader campaign called “We Belong to Something Beautiful” had been in the works for at least a year.

Barbadian singer Rihanna last month unveiled her new fashion brand with LVMH, a rare move by the French group to set up a label from scratch as it taps into soaring demand for celebrity collaborations in the luxury world.

Sephora’s workshops come about a year after Starbucks closed 8,000 stores across the United States for anti-bias training after a Philadelphia cafe manager’s call to police resulted in the arrests of two black men who were waiting for a friend.

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