Apr 26, 2023
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Sephora UK store launch has been big success says chief

Apr 26, 2023

Sephora’s physical retail return to the UK looks to have been an inspired move. The recently opened store at Westfield London is performing more than 300% better than was predicted.

Sephora London - DR

That came from the beauty retailer’s parent LVMH, with the luxury goods group’s Selective Retailing divisional boss Christopher de Lapuente telling an audience at the World Retail Congress in Barcelona, the Sephora London store is performing “300% better than we expected within the first eight weeks” in terms of sales. “We’re off to a fabulous start.”

In fact, following the challenges of store closures during the global pandemic, Sephora and other brands in LVMH’s Selective Retailing division have rebounded significantly, achieving growth of 30% in Q1 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.

Lapuente credited the division’s investment in developing a strong omnichannel presence: “it's about a world where you give the consumer the choice of where and how to buy — anytime, anywhere, any device.”

He also highlighted the importance of its culture and people, and claimed the luxury group is taking steps towards improving diversity and inclusion having already made significant progress. He confirmed that two thirds of leadership across Sephora worldwide are women, while in the US the group is driving initiatives to increase the representation people of colour in leadership.

“We have a tendency to attract people from different backgrounds. People from humble backgrounds become general managers,” he said, as reiterated the importance of gender, cultural, racial and economic diversity. 

Back with that Sephora success in the UK, he added that on opening day, 5,000 people were queuing outside the store: "They didn’t come to buy lipstick at half price. They came to discover Sephora, the products, the assortment, which is part of the magic.”

Sephora’s last UK physical retail adventure ended in 2005 when it shut its store at the Bluewater mall in Kent. However, the brand returned to Britain digitally via its purchase of the Feelunique beauty webstore that it rebranded and relaunched as Sephora in 2022.

Earlier this month, LVMH recorded a strong start to its financial year, with the luxury retail group reporting revenues up 17% to €21 billion (£18.5 billion) in its first quarter, and a 16% rise in net profit to €14.7 billion (£13 billion) in 2022.

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