Avon started selling beauty products door to door in 1886. For generations women have been purchasing Avon products from small catalogues through a representative calling on consumers in their homes. During the days when most women were at home rather than building their own careers this method of direct selling was appropriate. In 1979 Avon purchased Tiffany & Co Jewelers as well as a chemical maker and health-product company. By the year 1988 Avon was removing themselves from the health care industry. Their debt had reached $1.2 billion and stock prices had bottomed out. During 1989 Avon was the target of two take over attempts. The company was successful in warding off both bids. Avon launched their new web site in 1997. This was a turning point for the company as they were offering products directly to the customers thus cutting out the need for the representatives that they had spent decades relying on. Avon estimated that they had 500,000 sales representatives in the United States alone. The sales results from this Internet site have not produced the gain the company had hoped for. In 1998 Avon set up mall kiosks around the United States. This was their first attempt at operating retail stores. This was a major departure in the way the company has done business in the past. The intention of the kiosks was to aim sales at younger consumers not already aware of the Avon brand. To help the relationships between Avon and its sales representatives these kiosks are now franchised to the representatives. Andrea Jung was named CEO of Avon in 1999. During the... [continues]
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