Beauty market

Sephora is preparing to open in the British capital, sources say – WWD

For years, UK shoppers’ main beauty deals were at Boots, Superdrug, Space NK and a handful of department store chains. But soon there will be another – and familiar to some – contender in town.

After years of speculation, Sephora is finally preparing to re-enter the market, starting in London, multiple sources told WWD. The first store is expected to open in the first quarter of 2023, others will follow.

While Sephora, part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, declined to comment, sources said one of the stores is likely to land in Westfield shopping center in White City, west London.

The neighborhood has undergone a transformation in recent years, with the former BBC TV center nearby transformed into a swanky SoHo home with a rooftop pool.

Other Westfield tenants include Apple, Coach, Gucci, Boots, Jimmy Choo, Kiehl’s and Mulberry.

Another source told WWD that a store is also likely to appear in the as-yet-unopened shopping center on the site of the former Battersea Power Station in south London, but a source close to Sephora said that it was wrong.

This isn’t Sephora’s first foray into the UK. The retailer opened its first store there in 2000 in the Bluewater shopping center in Kent, opening nine doors in total. In 2005 they were closed, unable to break through amid intense competition from Boots and others.

However, last year Sephora, founded in France by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1970, took its first step into Britain by acquiring prestigious online beauty retailer Feelunique in a deal valued at 132 million pounds. This will be rebranded as sephora.com.

There’s a lot at stake in the UK beauty market. According to Euromonitor, it is the second European beauty market after Germany and the top 10 worldwide.

Euromonitor forecasts UK beauty market revenue to reach $17.32 billion in 2022, with projected annual growth of 4.1% each year until 2026.

But as Sephora moves to London, others are moving out. As previously reported, Estée Lauder Cos. recently revealed that it was removing two brands – Smashbox and Glamglow – from the market as sales were “affected by changes in retail space and brand location, combined with competitive challenges”. During the pandemic, Lauder reduced or closed several brands, including Deciem, which reduced its assortment of brands, and Becca and Rodin Olio Lusso, which were both closed.