Sephora ramps up APAC expansion by launching in Hong Kong, South Korea and New Zealand

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Beauty retailer Sephora has announced its ambitions to expand further into the Asia Pacific market. © Sephora
Beauty retailer Sephora has announced its ambitions to expand further into the Asia Pacific market. © Sephora
Beauty retailer Sephora has announced its ambitions to expand further into the Asia Pacific market by entering Korea, New Zealand and making a comeback in Hong Kong.

The LVMH-owned firm plans to unveil its news stores in all three markets by the end of 2019.

Sephora Asia has over 3,000 stores globally and currently operates in twelve countries including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, China and Thailand.

The company said adding Hong Kong, Korea and New Zealand to its business is “a testament to its appetite for international beauty in the region”

Debuting in New Zealand

New Zealand is the most recent expansion announcement from the retailer.

Sephora Asia said the expansion into New Zealand was an “exciting new venture” ​for the company.

Benjamin Vuchot, president of Sephora Asia, said: “We believe that New Zealand will be a key market in building Sephora as the most loved beauty community in Asia, and the world.”

He added: “This expansion to a new market will allow Sephora to continue to amplify global beauty trends locally, elevate what our clients expect of the in-store experience and bring fresh, digital touch points to the retail environment to create a virtual, client-centric cycle.”

The company plans to open its first New Zealand brick-and-mortar in Auckland on Queen Street, where it hopes to become the “home of beauty”.

“Sephora Auckland will be a beauty destination like no other,”​ said Pedro Coutinho, interim general manager Sephora Australia and New Zealand.

“We are so excited to introduce our renowned service offering, a suite of the most sought after beauty brands from around the world and a fun place for our clients to experience and explore their own beauty journey.”

The opening of a brick-and-mortar comes after the company launched its e-commerce platform in 2015.

Coutinho said the company would leverage on the experience and insight of the online business to help grow its new offline one.

“We’ve listened to what our online clients want from Sephora, and this new Auckland location will help us deliver it.”

Shaking up the K-beauty scene

In early April, the firm announced it was making a play for South Korea because of the growing interesting in multi-brand health and beauty stores such as Olive Young.

"It is exciting for us to introduce Sephora to the Korean market, which leads the global beauty trend. Korea is one of the most dynamic markets in Asia. I expect will serve as a place to exchange domestic and global beauty trends," ​said Vuchot.

The company confirmed it was opening its first store in October this year in Samseong-dong, Seoul.

The retailer said it planned to open five brick-and-mortar stores and an e-commerce platform by 2020. By 2022, it plans to add another additional 13 stores.

Return to Hong Kong

After a 10-year absence, Sephora Asia has decided to return to Hong Kong to reclaim its market share.

Vuchot said Hong Kong was a key market for the company and that the return will allow it to capture tourists from China and South East Asia.

“Hong Kong, being strategically located in the Greater Bay Area, allows us to meet the growing demands from Hong Kong consumers, as well as tourists from Mainland China and Southeast Asia,”​ he said.

Its 4,000sq fit comeback outlet will be located at IFC Mall. According to some Chinese media outlets, the company is leasing the space from clothing retailer, Zara for an estimated HK$2m ($254,830).

Last month, the confirmed it will be opening eight stores in Hong Kong.

The second outlet is expected to be unveiled in the fourth quarter of this year at Windsor House in Causeway Bay. The next six stores will follow over the next three years.

Vuchot said the company planned to give consumers a holistic retail experience by bringing in digital touch points such as vending machines and digital skin care consultations.

Last year, Sephora launched a concept store in Shanghai which featured Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality technology.

The company believes brick-and-mortars stand a higher chance of capturing the market with strong digital development.

“The re-launch of Sephora brings to Hong Kong’s department store-focused retail landscape a much-needed prestige retail chain for an authentic omnichannel experience,”​ it said.

The company packed up its retail outlets in 2010 after only two years in the market, however, it kept its online presence.

With its reopening, the company will also expand its online offerings as well.

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