Sephora doubles down on Sydney

sephoraSephora is set to launch its second Australian beauty megastore in September, having already started construction on the outlet at the Macquarie Centre in North Ryde, Sydney.

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The global beauty chain, which is owned by LVMH and has 2000 stores worldwide, has only one other store in Australia, located in the iconic Pitt Street Mall in the Sydney CBD.

The new Macquarie Centre store will be situated on Level 2 alongside other recently launched international retailers in the centre, including Zara, H&M and Forever 21.

Sephora Australia country manager, Libby Amelia, confirmed plans to expand the retailer’s footprint across Australia, although she was tight-lipped on exact specifics surrounding further moves and a targeted number of stores.

“Each new store location will be chosen based on demand and the success of previous openings in Australia,” Amelia said. “So far, Sephora has been welcomed with opened arms to the Australian market and we’re excited to keep the momentum going. We want to ensure we find the right location to ensure the brand’s heritage and DNA is always replicated.”

Size of available retail space is a key factor in choosing new locations for Sephora, as a significant footprint is required to accommodate the more than 100 beauty brands it stocks. Equally critical is consumer demand and the population in each state. That notwithstanding, opting for a second store in Sydney in favour of branching out into one of the other east coast capital cities could be seen as a surprise move.

“Macquarie Centre is a first class shopping destination going from strength to strength with its growing list of international retailers,” Amelia said. “The demand for another Sydney store outside of the CBD was high and Macquarie was the perfect location. Of course, we haven’t forgotten about the rest of Australia.”

Sephora Australia opened its first store in Sydney’s CBD in Pitt Street in early December last year, and according to Amelia, it has been hugely successful and is performing beyond expectations.

“On opening day, the store saw a record number of beauty fanatics come through the doors and the highest sales of any Sephora opening day ever,” she said. “We are beyond thrilled with the reception Australia has given Sephora.”

Amelia said the key challenges around entering the Australian market mainly relate to finding the right space.

“We need a large space in a prominent position that represents the brand appropriately, so we work hard to ensure we find the right location before opening,” she said. “Coordinating 100 international and local beauty brands with shipping and warehousing also presents its own challenges, but we have a great team on hand who know how to make it work.”

Different worlds of play
Sephora stores are divided in to several different ‘worlds’ – specifically, skincare, fragrance, make-up, haircare, bath and body. And these differing worlds inform a store design that encourages customers to play and engage with products before purchasing.

“Our store design is very different to other retailers in that we have a self-service model where the customer is encouraged to play, try and explore on their own. Alternatively, beauty advisers are always available for customers seeking information, service and expertise.”

Sephora hasn’t launched e-commerce in Australia yet, but is working on it. More details will be announced soon, said Amelia.

In terms of local marketing around its expanding Australian presence, she noted, “We will be concentrating on communicating our core brand DNA, which includes an amazing beauty selection, disruptive spirit, freedom to experience, and a fun place to learn. Our marketing activities and events will all showcase these four points in a variety of ways, staying true to Sephora’s cheeky spirit.”

Sephora stocks more than 30 exclusive beauty brands, including the likes of Marc Jacobs Beauty, Tarte, Kat Von D, Cover Fx, Nudestix, Beauty Blender, Ole Henriksen, Formula X, and its own private label, Sephora Collection. New, yet to be named, brands will be available in due course in the Macquarie Centre store.

This story first appeared in Inside Retail PREMIUM issue 2054. To subscribe, click here

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