Thursday, 21 May 2020

Sephora prepares for US reopenings, launches e-commerce store on China's Tmall




As French beauty retailer Sephora promises to take a “measured and supportive approach” to reopening its brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S., it is also looking East to make up lost revenue, complementing its retail fleet in China with a new Tmall store.

On Tuesday, the company announced that, in line with the easing of regional restrictions and guidelines related to the Covid-19 pandemic, it will be reopening selected retail locations in the U.S., starting May 22.

States where the retailer will be reopening stores include Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Georgia, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona and Alabama.

In order to ensure that its stores can operate in a manner that is safe for both customers and associates, Sephora has developed its own health and safety guidelines, which include 48 safety procedures and “extensive employee training.”

Along with implementing deep cleaning and enhanced hygiene measures at its retail locations, the company’s new safety procedures also introduce regulations that encourage and facilitate social distancing practices in store, including restricted capacity and appropriately spaced queue markers and check-out registers.

Staff will be required to wear face masks and will be submitted to temperature checks at the beginning and midway through their shifts. Disposable masks will also be provided for customers.

In-store testers will now be for display only, with Sephora offering a suite of virtual tools for customers wishing to try out products.

“As we gradually reopen our stores over the next few months, we have taken great care in how we welcome back our employees and our clients,” said Jean-AndrĂ© Rougeot, president and CEO of Sephora Americas, in a release. “We are grateful for our clients’ support the past two months, and we want to safeguard the experience for those who want to return to stores.”

Sephora’s U.S. stores have been closed since March 17, and the company recently found itself embroiled in a legal spat with J.C.Penney over the reopening of the shop-in-shops it runs in a number of the department store operator’s locations. The companies have since made amends and reaffirmed their ongoing collaboration.

As many beauty brands look to the recovering Chinese market following prolonged store closures in Europe and North America, Sephora has also doubled down on its own activities in the country with the opening of a new store on Tmall.

With the launch of its cross-border store on the Chinese e-commerce platform, the retailer will offer “cloud shelves” stocked with over 600 products from 25 international brands, including Fenty Beauty, Dermalogica and Bon Parfumeur, as well as labels making their Chinese debut, such as Sunday Riley and Natasha Denona.

Sephora already runs around 250 brick-and-mortar locations in China, but the cross-border nature of its latest initiative will allow the company to introduce new products that are usually subject to restrictions in the country, such as those from cruelty-free brands.

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