Sally Beauty Supply is closing 350 stores. I visited a location and saw why the company is struggling.

Sally Beauty in New York City
  • Sally Beauty Supply will close 350 stores and two distribution centers starting in December. 
  • After fourth-quarter losses, the company is rolling out a new optimization play to save an estimated $50 million in expenses in 2023. 
  • We visited a Sally Beauty Supply store in New York City to see why the company is struggling.
Sally Beauty Supply announced on November 11 that it will be closing 350 of its stores and two distribution centers in Oregon and Pennsylvania as part of its new optimization plan.

Sally Beauty entrance
After several quarters of piloting store closures, the company said its newest plan is estimated to save approximately $50 million in expenses with about $10 million in adjusted operations earnings for the 2023 fiscal year.

Sally Beauty

Source: Sally Beauty Holdings

In its Q4 earnings, Sally Beauty reported $962.5 million in net sales, which is a 2.8% decrease from 2021. The company attributed this decrease to being "unfavorably impacted by inflationary pressures that continued to impact consumer behavior and supply chain challenges."

Sally Beauty hair dye

Source: Sally Beauty Holdings

The majority of the store locations that are set to close are in the US, and most of them will permanently shutter starting in December.

Sally Beauty hair cleanser shelf
I visited a Sally Beauty Supply store in the Hell's Kitchen area of Manhattan to see why the company is curtaining so many of its brick-and-mortar shops.

Sally Beauty doors
As soon as I walked through the store doors, I spotted a clearance section that was set up to the left of the entrance. The majority of the products on sale were makeup or hair-related.

Sally Beauty clearance section
More than half of the store was dedicated to hair care and styling products and tools.
For hair stylists and salon owners, Sally Beauty seemed like a good supply store to go to to find specialty brands and products in bulk at affordable prices.

Sally Beauty wigs
The store had a plethora of curlers, clips, and capes for haircuts. There was also a more limited selection of hair extensions and wigs for sale.

Sally Beauty hair accessories
Hair styling spray bottles in different shapes and sizes were all priced under $4.

Sally Beauty hair spray bottles
Styling tools like hair brushes and combs were affordably priced, with the bulk of them being under $15.

Sally beauty hair brush section
An aisle in the middle of the store was stocked full of hair dryers, straighteners, and curlers.

Sally Beauty hair straighteners
There were also additional styling appliances like clippers for sale.

Sally Beauty hair tools
A sign that said all electrical appliances were final sale made me wonder if this is one of the locations planned for closure in the near future.

Sally Beauty final sale sign
Another sign said that customers would receive $20 off select styling tools.

Sally Beauty $20 off sign
The store had so many different shampoo and conditioner options to choose from.

Sally Beauty hair section
Signs offering discounts on hair care products were fixed to displays and shelves. Seeing all the signs made me wonder if the store always had big deals going on or if it was a sign of the company's financial struggles.

Sally Beauty 4 for $20 sign
Shoppers could get four ION products for $20 total, which was a great deal seeing as most of the brand's products started around $10.

Sally Beauty 4 for $20 sign
The Sally Beauty store also had a sizable lineup of hair dye brands available, with boxes of different shades lining the shelves.

Sally Beauty hair dyes
Along with a wide range of hair products, there was also the largest nail polish assortment that I had ever seen at a beauty store before.

Sally Beauty nail section
I also found an extensive collection of stick-on nails and nail care tools like files, clippers, and nail-strengthening serums nearby.

Sally Beauty press on nails
Further down the aisle was the makeup accessory area. While the selection was limited, it still had all the essentials at drugstore prices, such as packs of $4.19 eyebrow spoolies, $4.39 beauty blenders, and individual makeup brushes between $7.99 and $15.79.

Sally beauty accessories
There was a deal going on for all Ardell products in the store: buy two packs of fake eyelashes or two cosmetic items and get the third 50 percent off.

Sally Beauty 50 percent off sign
I was surprised to see that the makeup section was designated to one small area, which was half taken up by jewelry for nose and eyebrow piercings.

Sally Beauty earrings
Customers looking to buy a simple blush or mascara would have better luck at their local CVS or Walgreens due to the very small assortment of brands and products available at Sally Beauty.

Sally Beauty products at the register
Visiting the store, I saw firsthand why the company is closing some of its locations. The clientele Sally Beauty appeals to is ultimately likely to be too niche to be able to keep all 3,700 of its stores open.

Sally Beauty registers

Source: Sally Beauty Holdings

Because most of the store is dedicated to hair care, Sally Beauty's offerings can’t compete with other beauty store retailers like Sephora or Ulta, which sell a larger selection of makeup, skincare, and fragrances. It also doesn't match up to many drug stores that have similar prices and more variety overall.

Sally Beauty entrance
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