LONDON, United Kingdom — L’Oreal SA, the world’s largest cosmetics maker, will be cautious in raising prices in the UK to make up for the slump in the pound, chief executive officer Jean-Paul Agon said in the wake of a pricing dispute between Unilever and Tesco Plc.
“We will be very cautious to respect both consumers and our relationships with retailers,” Agon said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg Television, adding it’s not the fault of customer that some production costs are rising.
For companies that make products with imported raw materials, Brexit is raising a conundrum in the UK that they’re more used to facing in markets such as Russia and Brazil: how to pass along part of the burden of higher costs after a currency devaluation starts eroding margins. Tesco, Britain’s biggest supermarket chain, and food giant Unilever had a standoff over UK pricing this week, leading the retailer to temporarily remove Unilever products such as Marmite from its online offerings.
The pound has slumped 15 percent against the euro since voters opted for Brexit on June 23. Last week, Swiss cheesemaker Emmi AG said prices will need to go up in the UK, while Nestle SA said in August the pound’s devaluation is raising the cost to import cocoa and coffee.
By Thomas Mulier and Francine Lacqua; editors: Matthew Boyle, Phil Serafino and Kim Robert McLaughlin.