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Beauty giant Sephora opens doors to London shop as part of UK return

Sephora opened a new London shop on March 8 (Sephora ands Westfield)
Sephora opened a new London shop on March 8 (Sephora ands Westfield)

Make-up and skincare fans have a new ‘beauty playground’ to visit, with Sephora investing in a new London shop where some 135 brands will be stocked.

In what will be its first UK physical store since exiting its last ones here by 2005, beauty giant Sephora, owned by luxury goods group LVMH, has launched a store at the Westfield London shopping centre. Doors opened for the first time on March 8.

The 6,000 square feet London branch will sell goods from brands including GXVE by Gwen Stefani, Fenty Beauty and Drunk Elephant. The space will also be home to a Benefit brow bar and lipbar, featuring a large array of colours and finishes. Express skincare treatments will also be available as will a fragrance engraving service.

Sephora, which also sells online, is present in 35 countries with over 2,600 stores.

The latest store marks a UK bricks and mortar return for the retailer. Sephora made its UK debut in 2000, but had exited stores here by 2005.

Sephora has a new 6,000 square feet London store (Sephora Westfield)
Sephora has a new 6,000 square feet London store (Sephora Westfield)

Ahead of the latest opening at Westfield London, Sephora launched a UK website last year. That came after it in 2021 snapped up London-headquartered online firm Feelunique.

Last month Sarah Boyd , the retailer’s country manager said: “This new store will showcase Sephora’s best-in-class beauty expertise and provide unique services to UK customers, including makeup, skincare, haircare, fragrance, body, and personalized gifting. We cannot wait to welcome our first customers.”

Sephora joins a host of retailers expanding with bricks and mortar shops in the capital, as footfall bounces back following the pandemic.

Clothing company Rixo is among those with upcoming openings, and in January a director at real estate agent Colliers said he was aware of at least 50 international and domestic companies wanting to open new or more shops in Zone 1 in 2023.

Sofie Willmott, lead analyst at research firm GlobalData said: “Sephora may have only announced the opening of a solitary store in the UK, but the potential threat to the incumbent beauty retail leaders is significant.”

Willmott added: “The specialists are well prepared for Sephora’s re-entry to the UK market – market leader Boots has introduced beauty halls and upped its game with contemporary, in-demand brands and Superdrug has focused on low prices and the services it offers to satisfy its young shopper base.

“Sephora will need to continue to highlight its exclusive ranges and make events, like those taking place around the launch, a permanent fixture if it is to drive repeat visits and steal shoppers from the UK stalwarts in the long term.”

Activities around the March opening include free limited edition gift bags for the first 300 customers who visited the store and a masterclass by make-up founder Natasha Denona.