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Gucci Owner Coty to Pump Out Hand Sanitizer as Coronavirus Upends Business

With coronavirus having crippled traditional retail sales, beauty and cosmetic giant Coty will start pumping out hand sanitizer.

Cosmetic and beauty products giant Coty  (COTY) - Get Coty Inc. Class A Report is getting into the hand sanitizer business as it braces for a big drop in demand for its more traditional offerings.

Owner of such brands as Gucci, Covergirl, Burberry and Clairol, Coty said in a press statement it was gearing up to start manufacturing and supplying hand sanitizer for use by emergency medical services as it shifts gears and refocuses its business strategy in the wake of the wide-ranging disruptions caused by coronavirus Covid-19.

Coty said it was bracing for a 20% hit to net revenue in the fiscal third quarter as the coronavirus takes a heavy toll on traditional retail operations across the United States and beyond, and it was withdrawing its guidance for the fiscal year as a whole "so as to have the necessary flexibility."

The cosmetic and beauty products giant said it was focusing on "open channels and markets," doubling sales on Amazon in the U.S. in recent weeks and preparing to launch the Kylie skin care brand in Europe. 

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Coty said it also was preparing for a jump in demand in Asia, as countries there come out on the other side of the coronavirus epidemic.

Pierre-Andre Terisse, the company's chief financial officer and chief operating officer, said Coty will also be asking its board to approve plans to pay shareholders their 12.5-cent dividend in kind for the coming two quarters.

"Having faced several financial crises in my career, I also know they always contain opportunities as well, and we will look to seize them," Terisse said.