Health and beauty retailer Clicks has suspended all the employees responsible for making the offensive hair campaign and said yesterday the senior executive responsible had resigned.

Clicks chief executive Vikesh Ramsunder said all suspended employees would go through a fair and unbiased disciplinary hearing, overseen by an independent outside chairperson.
Ramsunder said Clicks would be delisting and removing all TRESemmé products from its shelves with immediate effect and filling the gap with locally sourced hair care brands, of which Clicks had an extensive range already. He also said Clicks would be engaging with all suppliers to enforce their ethical code of conduct.

“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, today. We will use this opportunity to engage directly with all our store staff across the country, to provide counselling and support. We will be supported by the ICAS Employee Health and Wellness Programme,” he said.

Ramsunder said Clicks had been involved in extensive discussions with the departments of labour and trade and industry over the past few days and would be working closely with them to help develop the local beauty market in South Africa.

“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 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,” said Ramsunder.

On Monday, Ramsunder penned an open letter apologising for the marketing campaign depicting racial stereotypes in the aftermath of a public outcry over the advert.