The global grooming industry gets cut down to size

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SOME THOUGHT a mirror and a pair of clippers from Amazon would do it. Some gave up after the first flesh wound. Some braved a trim by spouses or children. Now, as hair salons reopen the world over after a covid-19 hiatus, the bearded and bedraggled are flocking back to the pros. They find an industry—with annual sales of $20bn in America alone—transformed.

Social-distancing rules force hairdressers and barbers to serve fewer clients. “If we could seat ten people before, now we can only seat three,” says Cristina Solymosi, whose beauty salon in Madrid has gone from 40-50 customers a day before the pandemic to 15-20. Protective gear and disinfectant are a must. Salons, which often double as social clubs mixing gossip with endless arguments about sports and politics, may soon resemble labs.

If they survive at all, that is. Kline, a consultancy, sees a decrease of over 30% in salon revenues in a dozen big markets this year. That could kill many firms in a trade with razor-...



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