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L’Oreal group close Hong Kong stores in wake of Denise Ho controversy

South China Morning Post  — Several cosmetic brands under the L’Oreal group have closed their stores in shopping malls and department stores across the city, hours before a planned protest against Lancome’s decision to cancel a concert amid criticism from mainland China.

Lancome’s booth at Lane Crawford, Times Square was the target of the Wednesday afternoon protest initiated by the League of Social Democrats and seven other groups, after the brand cancelled a concert involving Canto-pop star Denise Ho Wan-sze.

The Post found that the Lancome, Yves Saint Laurent Beauté and Helena Rubinstein’s booths, as well as Shu Uemura’s store at Times Square were all closed on Wednesday. All four brands are under the Paris-based L’Oreal group. A note was posted outside the Shu Uemura store, saying: “Our store will be closed on 8 June. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.”

Credit: SCMP
Credit: SCMP

Stacy Adams CanadaLancome counters in Sogo and Hysan Place in Causeway Bay were both closed, while those for other brands under L’Oreal, as Shu Uemura, were open. The Sogo information desk said the Lancome counter would not open on Wednesday, but they had no knowledge of the reason for this.

Other closed Lancome locations included the shop at Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, and the store at Cityplaza, Taikoo Shing

Lancome had invited the singer to host a mini-concert in Hong Kong on June 19, but abruptly called off the event on Sunday after Beijing newspaper Global Times accused it of inviting “a Hong Kong and Tibet independence advocate to promote products” while mainland internet users threatened to boycott the brand.

However, after Lancome cancelled the concert citing “possible safety reasons”, Hong Kong internet users and political activists also vowed to boycott all brands under the L’Oreal group, including Lancome, Shu Uemura, Kiehl’s and the Body Shop.

Meanwhile, Ho said Lancome should “stand firm on its core values and moral standards”. The singer was speaking up for the first time in a live interview with the BBC on Tuesday night, hours after Global Times argued in its editorial that people “should not do things that jeopardise China’s interest if they were to take part in and benefit from the Chinese market”.

Ho was among more than 200 people arrested as the pro-democracy Occupy protests ended in December 2014. She was blacklisted by mainland media along with singer Anthony Wong Yiu-ming. Click here more www.scmp.com