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Avon To Cut Workforce, Halts ‘SMT’ Program

January 1, 2014

Avon Products, Inc. has outlined details of the company’s previously announced $400 million cost savings initiative by 2016. The latest actions primarily consisted of global headcount reductions totaling 650 positions, including those related to the company’s service model transformation (SMT) project, and some additional headcount reductions in North America.

Avon has announced its decision to halt further rollout of SMT, a multi-year global initiative, which enabled changes to the way representatives interact with the company, including an updated order management system. Earlier in 2013, SMT was piloted in Canada, causing significant business disruption in that market, and did not show a clear return on investment. The decision was made in light of the potential risk of further disruption. The company’s focus is on stabilizing and growing the business and improving operating capability, which includes updating IT infrastructure in a way that delivers clear return on investment.

As a result of the decision to halt further rollout of the SMT project, the company also expects to record a pre-tax non-cash impairment charge of approximately $100 million to $125 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, reflecting the write-down of capitalized software.

Although it is halting SMT rollout, Avon said it remains committed to updating IT infrastructure and improving systems for its representatives. 

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