Avon Products Inc. the world’s largest direct seller of beauty products, said on Friday it will stop making jewelry, closing a factory in Puerto Rico in a move that eliminates 320 jobs.
Upon closing the facility in San Sebastian at the end of April, Avon said it will outsource its full jewelry line by purchasing finished goods from Asia, where costs are significantly lower.
“The external cost pressures are too great, and we have therefore made the decision to exit jewelry manufacturing,” Leon Zlotnick, Avon’s general manager in Puerto Rico, said in a statement. He said the company will focus its investment there on its direct selling business.
Avon said its Puerto Rican jewelry making operations have faced significant competition since 1998. While service and quality improved, it said, costs to run the business had increased at an accelerated rate. Meanwhile, consumer preferences have continued to shift to more complex jewelry and fashion items that require more costly labor and assembly, and are less expensive to produce in Asia.
The company closed jewelry making facilities in Aquadilla and Dominican Republic in 1998 and in Ireland in 1999.