Beauty behemoth Sephora to open 100 stores in 2020

The move is a rarity for brick-and-mortar shops

Sephora is slated to open 100 new stores in 2020, marking the biggest single-year expansion in its 20-plus-year history.

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The beauty behemoth, owned by Paris-based luxury goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is more than doubling the number of its store openings from last year in an effort to effectively compete with beauty rivals such as Ulta, which opened 80 locations in 2019.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
LVMUYLVMH MOËT HENNESSY LOUIS VUITTON SE74.27+4.45+6.37%
ULTAULTA BEAUTY INC.188.68+31.94+20.38%

"Our focus continues to be on anticipating the beauty needs and desires of our diverse clients across North America," said Jean André Rougeot, CEO of Sephora Americas. "As we look at ways to continue to be more inclusive and accessible, brick & mortar continues to be a huge opportunity for us to deepen emotional connections with our clients and local communities."

Sephora

The $532 billion beauty industry's heaviest hitters, Ulta and Sephora, continue to win over shoppers as department stores continue to falter, joining the graveyard of brick-and-mortar retailers. By 2009, specialty chains overtook department stores by share of the U.S. beauty and personal care market, according to research firm Euromonitor International.

In 2019, Ulta reported revenue of more than $ 6.7 billion, up from the $5.8 billion reported in 2018. Comparatively, LVMH noted its Selective Retailing division, which Sephora is part of, saw a five percent growth in revenue over 2019.

Sephora

Sephora is expanding its footprint in more than 75 cities including Charlotte, San Jose and Nashville. The new stores will be centered around local neighborhoods and community centers however, some will also be placed in malls, a long-time staple for Sephora shops.

Some new locations will include smaller 4,000-square-foot stores with hair care and skin care more prominently at the front. The new locations will utilize more cost-effective materials and be powered by 100 percent renewable energy, underscoring the company's commitment to the planet, Sephora says.

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"These locations are meant to complement our existing fleet and give clients a more personalized and customized experience," said Jeff Gaul, Sephora's senior vice president of real estate and store development.

Even as Sephora expansion is a good sign for retail, a wave of bankruptcies continues to plague once-thriving stores leaving deserted shelves and tacky, papered-over windows.

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The rate of unoccupied storefronts exploded 10 basis points to 9.4 percent during the last three months of summer, according to data published Friday by Rei s, a unit of Moody's Analytics.

That figure matched the post-financial crisis high in 2011, according to a recent report by Seeking Alpha.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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