Target Australia Pty Ltd, an Australian department store chain owned by Wesfarmers, is now the target of a legal action after a US cosmetics and fragrance giant found the retailer has been selling fake M·A·C Cosmetics at its stores.
The legal action ensued after M·A·C Cosmetics, acquired by Estee Lauder in 1998, brought to its US laboratory for testing the cosmetics it sourced from Target Australia.
"M·A·C Cosmetics has conducted extensive testing in our US laboratories and found that M·A·C marked products that were, until recently, being sold at Target Australia are counterfeit," M·A·C said on its Web site.
A further blow to the Australian retailer was that it was never, ever accorded rights to sell the product.
"Target Australia is not an authorised retailer of M·A·C Cosmetics and we did not supply any M·A·C products to Target Australia," the make-up company's statement said on its Web site.
"We notified Target Australia and they have withdrawn the products from their shelves and website."
In its Facebook page, Target Australia confirmed it is aware of Estee Lauder's legal action suit.
"As this matter is now the subject of legal proceedings, it would be inappropriate to comment further, however Target assures customers that it prides itself on the quality and value of its products and always seeks to find ways to bring customers a wider range at great prices," it said.
It, however, defended that the M·A·C products were sourced lawfully.
"The M·A·C products supplied to Target was sourced lawfully by a domestic supplier from a legitimate M·A·C wholesaler overseas. Sourcing genuine product in this way, a process known as parallel importing, is not illegal in Australia and can result in significant savings for our customers. As a result, we can offer customers MAC products for 40 per cent less than other Australian retailers," the Australian department store chain said on Facebook.
It further said that before products are sold in its stores and online shop, the product was tested by its supplier. "We were given assurance it was genuine."
Estee Lauder informed buyers that M·A·C products in Australia can only be bought from its freestanding stores, www.maccosmetics.com.au, M·A·C Pro stores and in department stores Myer and David Jones.
"We urge our customers to shop at our authorized retailers to ensure the M·A·C Cosmetics products they buy are authentic and meet the quality and safety standards that we promise."
Target, a division of Wesfarmers Limited which is one of Australia's largest listed companies, is positioned between the high-end department stores and discount department stores, with a focus on offering better value than speciality stores in the mid-market sector, its profile on LinkedIn said.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission was reported to have also started conducting its own investigation into the sale of counterfeit make-up at Target stores.
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