Ok we’ve all, as discerning beauty lovers and makeup obsessives, heard the rumours and news about Sephora potentially opening this year in the UK. It started off with a flurry of twitters, and now Cosmopolitan ran this story, Huffington Post & more have published similar about the impending store opening in Westfield, Stratford. I’ve put my detective spectacles on, done some research and the conclusion is ;
IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN & IT’S HAPPENING BEFORE CHRISTMAS.
The Rumour Mill.
This started on Twitter around 3 days ago, and people went into makeup melt-down. Rumours of staff @ Westfield being told about the opening of the new Sephora store, eagle-eyed shoppers seeing Sephora branding being taken into the store & I have heard first hand of makeup artists already working for brands (cough MAC) within Westfield, Stratford, have been applying for jobs @ Sephora.
The fact that US Sephora started shipping to the UK around 2 years ago also is a sign that they were possibly dipping their toes back in the UK market, building customer loyalty & seeing how us UK crew like to spend.
Sephora have always been relatively quick to dispel rumours of a UK store on social media ; however this time they have remain tight-lipped..which speaks for itself.
What went wrong the first time?
I remember when we had Sephora before, it came to the UK in 1999 and opened 9 stores in various locations including Bluewater, Southampton, London N1 & Solihull. It vanished mysteriously & pretty quietly only 6 years later in 2005. Sephora remained and still remain shtum about why they left the UK so quickly, but rumours of soaring rent costs, badly chosen & out-of-town locations, crappy stock levels, under-staffed shops & also the fact that they were nothing like the French Sephora’s all probably play reason for their departure.
I think also the beauty market is SO different now, and that it will work this time around, with the right location, plus just starting off with 1 flagship as opposed to 9 out-of-town locations. There is possibly no better location than Westfield and let’s be real, it’s absolutely going to smash it this time around with the soaring interest in makeup, the PR storm surrounding it and the fact that the UK are even more-obsessed with beauty than ever before. I foresee people moaning about how they chose to open in London ; it’s just pure business sense & they want to/need to get it right this time around. The shopping destinations in London generally generate a lot more money than anywhere else in the UK. I would suspect they will also launch an online UK Sephora shop simultaneously also, so those who cannot frequent the store often, can at least top up online.
Will it be like the U.S Sephoras?
I very much doubt it no. Sephora is owned by LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennesy) which is a luxury good conglomerate that owns a shit load of brands including lots of beauty ones we know and love ; Benefit, Dior, Guerlain, Sephora, Aqua Di Parma & more. However, currently Sephora in itself is 3 separate companies within LVMH : 1) Europe 2) Middle East/Asia 3) North & South America. I can only imagine we are going to slot into the ‘Europe’ division UNLESS a fourth company has/will be created which would be solely UK.
((RANDOM FACT: BOOTS used to own Sephora before LVMH & BEFORE it first came to the UK!))
So let’s assume we will be part of the Europe Sephora division. It’s will still hold some amazing brands, we know that, but if it isn’t like the shopping experience you get in America, I’m not *that* excited. I haven’t been to the flagship Champs-Elysees Sephora store which is meant to be pretty unreal and stocks a LOAD of brands that aren’t seen in many other European stores, but I have been to a handful of other Sephoras in Europe and they really do not compare to the U.S shops in terms of shopping experience, customer service and the brands that they hold. Saying that perhaps they will make the London store as exceptional as the Paris flagship (here’s hoping) & we will get all the brands that we want to see.
Sephora Brands I love.
Just on a personal level. I am a huge U.S Sephora fan and do big shops when I am visiting (I am off next month to Boston, with a shopping list as long as my arm!) so there are some brands I am really hoping come with a UK Sephora. MOST of the brands @ Sephora are available in the UK somewhere or somehow but there are a good handful that are not at all, or are just online, which defeats the shopping experience.
BRAND LOVE: Kate Somerville, Boscia, Pat McGrath Beauty, Sephora own brand, Bite Beauty, Drunk Elephant, First Aid Beauty, Dr Dennis Gross, Too Faced, Kat Von D, Lit Cosmetics, Marc Jacobs Beauty, Peter Thomas Roth, Surratt, Tata Harper, Sunday Riley, ABH, Too Faced, Josie Maran. *I know some of these are avail in the U.K but not readily or full ranges*
I think the beauty (no pun intended) of Sephora is that it sells luxury brands, niche brands and affordable beauty brands that aren’t available in your usual department stores, but alongside your usual department store brands (Bobbi, Estee Lauder, YSL, NARS, Clinique etc) so basically it’s just ALL UNDER ONE ROOF. It has that nice balance of self-service and beauty counter so that you can roam free with your shopping basket if you like and mind your own business, but at the same time, get some advice if you need.
When will it open?
From a retailer perspective, it’s a very good idea to open pre-christmas and if they are already installing and working on their new location in Westfield….I can only imagine it will be next month or perhaps early November when we see the doors opening to a flurry of makeup artists, bloggers, beauty lovers and arm swatching lunatics.
PS. These views are simply mine from compiling information from the interweb, my personal knowledge & assumptions, beauty insiders & reading various articles.
|Herman is utterly terrified at the prospect of Sephora opening in the UK.
What do you think of the idea of Sephora opening here in the UK? Do you think it’s going to work? You can start your shopping list HERE. (!!)