Dis-Chem, Makro latest retailers to pull TRESemmé from shelves

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Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters are seen at Sandton City Mall during the national shutdown of all Clicks outlets.
Members of the Economic Freedom Fighters are seen at Sandton City Mall during the national shutdown of all Clicks outlets.
Sharon Seretlo, Gallo Images

Dis-Chem and Makro have joined the choir of retailers pulling TRESemmé products from shelves, following outrage over a hair advertisement on Clicks' website that depicted black women's hair as "dry and damaged".

The companies confirmed this in tweets on their official Twitter accounts. 

On Wednesday, the Shoprite group and Pick n Pay also said they would no longer stock TRESemmé products in their stores. 

On Tuesday, the Clicks retail group said it would delist and remove all TRESemmé products from its shelves with immediate effect and would replace them with locally sourced haircare brands.

The company also suspended all employees who were involved in the campaign and accepted the resignation of a senior executive. 

Plunged in storm

Clicks and TRESemmé were plunged into the middle a storm after an advert on women's hair appeared on the cosmetics and medical retailers' website.

The advert, which used the phrases "dry and damaged" and "frizzy and dull" over images of black women, has been slammed as racist.

The same marketing material used images of white women under the phrases "fine and flat" and "normal".

Amid the outcry over the advert, EFF supporters protested outside Clicks stores this week, forcing the company to pull TRESemmé from its shelves and shut all its outlets on Wednesday.

Clicks said 425 stores in the country had been affected by the protests, but that it was too early to assess the nature of the damage caused by vandalism. Some stores were torched.

The EFF is expected to meet British-Dutch multinational consumer goods company Unilever on Thursday.

The party's secretary-general, Marshall Dlamini, wrote a letter on Wednesday stating that it sought answers. It threatened "robust action" after Clicks informed it that the advertisement was commissioned by the entity on its website.

'We got it wrong'

On Friday, Unilever issued an apology on its website, saying it got it wrong.

"We are looking into how this happened and why it wasn't picked up, and we will take all necessary steps to make sure it doesn't happen again," its statement read.

According to the EFF, the meeting request came from Unilever and will take place at the EFF headquarters at 10:00.

The EFF delegation will be led by party leader Julius Malema and Unilever will be represented by Keegan Alicks.

The EFF will also meet Clicks' management, led by CEO Vikesh Ramsunder, on Thursday. Ramsunder apologised on Sunday for the "insensitive and offensive" advertisement published on its website. He said he was "deeply disappointed that we allowed insensitive and offensive images to be published on our website".

In a media update on Wednesday evening, Clicks said stores across the country would reopen for trading on Thursday, with contingency plans in place to ensure the safety of customers and staff.

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