One of the questions I am most asked by other bloggers is whether Sephora is ever going to come back to the UK. So, I picked up some Sephora gossip while I was at Cosmoprof in Bologna, but do have to point out it is just gossip – I don’t have proof one way or the other.
One thread of conversation revealed that a rumour last year that Sephora was going to launch into M&S stores was actually true, as unlikely as it sounds. Even though I checked and checked with M&S, nobody seemed to know anything about it, but I had it on good authority it was definitely a plan that was pulled at the last minute.
In another conversation, I was told that Sephora are ‘looking for premises’ in the UK.
Yet another conversation revealed that the reason they pulled out in the first place was because rent in the UK was too expensive for their stores. I’d dispute that; I’m just not sure we were ready for the concept but we are now. They also put stores in out of town shopping centres instead of investing in a flagship store on Regent Street or Oxford Street. When you consider how people actually queue to get into the Champs Elysee one (and it is HUGE), I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t think the same pattern wouldn’t work here. Shoving stores out in Bluewater, Kent, for example was never going to work out.
I might also tell you that I have made a point to email Sephora (France) every week (so far for 3 weeks, but I’ll keep doing it) with the same email asking exactly the same questions (i.e. do they have plans to return to the UK?) and so far they’ve not even had the courtesy to respond to the email. Folks, what can I tell you? I’m trying.
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I agree that Sephora is missing out on a huge opportunity in the UK. A London store would get ridiculous traffic!! I’m in the US so I have several Sephora stores nearby and I can’t imagine how frustrated I would be if they weren’t available. Good luck with this! While you’re at it, tell them to bring Becca back and get rid of these crappy Sephora branded lines.
Sephora and M&S? How very strange!!
I think a Sephora store would work well in Carnaby St x
I just think Sephora is not the right kind of shop for the UK consumers. It is a perfumery i.e. a format that no one has recent records about efficiency in the UK. UK is a market for drugstores & department stores, which France (and other countries like Italy where Sephora is also present) isn’t at all…
We really need Sephora in Sweden as well!
Yep, agree, we are ready now, though would say the choice of store locations years ago were not that accessible.
Sephora does extremely well in Europe and the Middle East so it seems ridiculous for them not to have a UK store.
sephora and m&s?! hmm… great for m&s, but sephora…? :/
I used to frequent the one in Kingston-upon-Thames regularly, until it closed! I think Sephora would do a sterling trade in any major city in the UK and additionally, places such as Bluewater, Trafford Centre, Meadow Hall, Metro Centre etc…
Thanks for the goss BBB ;o)
Sephora @ M&S sounds very bizarre and randomly thought out – agreed they need high profile locations. When you think about how busy MAC, Selfridges Beauty Hall etc is…surely Sephora is a great idea?!
I’m in the US and I could never understand why Sephora has put satellite stores in select JcPenney’s. I’m not trying to be a snob, because I’ll look for deals anywhere, it just seemed like and odd blending of brands. You really have to question the strategy of a company that’s not willing to take advantage of the London market. Strange …
I heard the M&S rumour from someone I few years ago who worked within M&S. He said M&S planned to relaunch it but maybe the recession affected it.
I’ve noticed that Sephora here in the USA doesn’t often respond to emails, not that that should make ya feel any better 🙁
I hope they eventually give you a response.
i remember the one in brent cross, i think your right that we just weren’t ready for them at the time. one in brent cross and westfield now would be great…plus 10 years on i can actually buy stuff in there rather than be glared at by the staff hehe 🙂
Oh how I’d love Sephora to come back – I used to use the one in Southampton all the time! – please keep emailing them
Well lovely it sounds like we are in the same boat, you for the UK and me for Australia.
Last yr I was lucky enough to meet someone from the Sephora company while in the USA and they informed me (very quietly) they are set to open in Australia in late 2011, and were in the process of looking for locations. I have been attempting to contact their parent company LVMH Australia and France, plus Sephora publicity offices in USA, Australia and France trying to get some form of confirmation or statement, and each and every attempt has resulted in zero response.
As bloggers we do a butt load for their brand, stores and sales, even with our limited access. The least the company could do is respond to our attempts to clear up these rumours.
Did you email them in French? If not, I’m not altogether surprised you haven’t had an answer.
I used to visit the Sephora at Angel. It didn’t have a great range of brands, very few of the displays had a full range of testers and it wasn’t that clean. Plus the SAs were a bit too in your face. The thing about the French ones that make them such a pleasure is that you can browse and play for hours relatively unmolested, although it’s got a bit worse recently on that front.
Also, Boots launched a very short lived retail concept at the time designed to compete with Sephora (with even fewer interesting niche brands) – the main store was on Long Acre. It didn’t do that well either but it seemed to do sufficiently well to see off the competition – and it was an altogether cleaner and tidier shopping experience.
i remember the sephora in west quay, southampton – i used to visit weekly until it closed. although i was only aged 11/12, it completely fascinated me and never got old.
when i compare that sephora store to the ones i’ve visited more recently in NYC, it’s severely lacking and i can see why it closed; back then, my local stocked few makeup ranges (urban decay, sephora’s own line, and one other that i can’t remember) & predominantly perfumes – it was so limited in range that i can see why it didn’t last. the ratio of perfume to cosmetics was about 70:30, and i think that if it were to return in that format it would still struggle today. what i love about sephora in the US is the wide range of cosmetics it carries. perfume is a little irrelevant because it’s so well catered for in department stores and the likes of boots; i’d love it to return to the uk, but only if it’s going to place the emphasis on cosmetics.
i also wonder if there’s really a demand for sephora because of the existing beauty halls in stores like selfridges? can it really survive unless it brings a lot of new brands to the table which aren’t already available in the likes of selfridges, harvey nicks, space nk etc?
I liked the store they had in the Merry Hill Centre. However it had lots of own branded make up at the front of the store that no one seemed interested in. Since it closed the department stores and Boots upped their game and web offerings have improved greatly. If it returned in the same format I don’t think it would add anything that the department stores and Boots don’t already do.
Thanks for following up re Sephora.
Years ago I lived in Paris and thought it was “the bees knees” and was super excited when it opened in the UK only to be disappointed with its premature closure. I agree Regent Street and even Bond Street would work.
Fingers and toes crossed 😉
Where Sephora really shines is their special edition exclusive value sets that brands do for them, such as NARS. However, I don’t know if this is an online thing only (I frequently visit the US site to gawp at the products, despite there being no international shipping). They also have loads of American and niche brands that I’d love to try, such as Bite and Hourglass. They’re also the exclusive retailer for some Korres Color products which we can’t get over here, like the Lip Butter Glazes. They also have reward program which looks pretty good. So yeah, I would love Sephora to come back to the UK, and I think they have a very good chance of being successful, if they have a good UK online presence as well as shops in prime locations.
Its so frustrating reading a lot of blogs and tutorials online and then finding out they are not available in the UK! like MUFE and the Kat Von D range! I think even if they made their website available to the UK it would make a killing!
Thanks so much for your hard work and persistence on this issue. I remember fondly the store at Bluewater that I occasionally visited as a teen and Sephora was always my first stop whenever I went to the States. I would really love to be able to just order from their existing website, would make so many brands and products that bit more accessible. Sephora & M&S? That would have been more than a little odd! x
You can take a day trip to Calais, easy if you live in kent. They have a nice store in cite l’europe. Close to home for me.
There is a new Westfield opening in Stratford, East London. Its going to be the biggest shopping centre in Europe. I would love to see a Sephora open there. Fingers crossed…
No offense, but Sephora teaming up with M&S is a very old rumour from 2008. I don’t think it’s going to happen as that was quite a long time a go.
I really want Sephora to come to the UK, I think they’re missing out by not coming here. Perhaps they could start be delivering to the UK and see how that goes.
I honestly think they would make a mint. I was in holiday in new york and there was just so much make up i loved. I think a shop in Glasgow would be amazing. Although there is places like house of fraser and debenhams, but i dont thnk their selection is good enough.
They had a sephora at brent cross my local shopping centre was I was younger but it didn’t get very busy and me and my friend only used it to buy little jelly bath bombs! Would get so much attention now tho! 😀
We need a sephora store, RIGHT NOW!! I have been to france and i went to the hyper markets, there was a sephora store there, and my, it was awesome, i loved all the products, i see youtube videos, people wearing sephora brand makeup, and i get jealous! I NEED A SEPHORA STORE RIGHT NOW!
I worked at the Sephora shop in Milton Keynes. Wasn’t surprised the it closed down, the prices were astronomical. The good thing about working there though was the free products.
I dont see what all the fuss is about we have Boots for goodness sake! Sephoria to me is like a glorified Superdrug!
When i go anywhere in the usa for my holidays i always have to visit a sephora store. I think they’re awesome much better than boots so if they came to the uk i know where i’d rather spend my money
I absolutely love Sephora. Its the first store I hit whenever I go to New York and find it a heavenly experience. And yes we may have Boots and department stores but I think it has an atmosphere all of its own. I used to go the store in Blue Water when I was visiting friends who lived nearby. I could never understand why there was not a flag ship store in the West End or even a concession…I would have been there every week.
I hope Sephora does one day return to our shores; in the meantime, for the love of all that is good, how about some international shipping? Just doesn’t make sense not to, in this day and (electronic) age.
I live in Namibia and went to LA and discovered the Sephora shops – the actual Sephora makeup is terrific and found them in Dubai as well, I am coming to the UK in September and was wonder if there would be Sephora makeup in the UK somewhere as I really would love to buy more – it is the best out of all the others – prefer it to any other make. The there is a perfume I am looking for called “Agent Provocateur” and would like to know where I would find it in the UK. We do not have these exclusive products here in our country and it is so frustrating. Hope you can help
The magic of Sephora is not only their awesome stores and vast choice of lovely products, each that you can touch and smell and explore… it is also their fabulous staff members. Warm, friendly greetings from well polished staff who are there to help but not pressure or hard sell. And they are experts in the field of beauty and are schooled in all the products so can help you decide what is best for *you*. And since they do not work for any one brand, their loyalty is not to any one company, their loyalty is to you. It is a brilliant shopping concept and in all the stores I have been to in NY And NJ (just about all of them), works successfully.
I have my opinions on why this business model doesn’t work I the UK. It could be because the overhead is too high. The vast array of brands and products they carry, plus rents, etc and qualified, well educated staff are quite high. While expensive makeup and perfume might work I. London and other major cities, I am not sure this would be the case in the amount of stores throughout the country it would take to make. Profit for Sephora. It could be because many of the brands will not sign on to stock in the UK. A quick look at the website shows what brands are available in store, not all available I the UK.