Following its recent decision to enter Brazil, Sephora is taking a second step into Latin America with plans to open stores in Mexico.
The San Francisco-based Sephora Americas is teaming up in a joint venture with Grupo Axo of Mexico City. David Suliteanu, president and chief executive officer of Sephora Americas, said the Mexican venture provides “an opportunity for us to broaden our reach.”
He noted that the Mexican beauty market bears some resemblance to the U.S. 12 years ago when Sephora arrived in New York from France. There is a large population in Mexico with a sizable middle and upper-middle class, a significant mall-based department store infrastructure and no specialty store service aspect to speak of, Suliteanu said. The final point was expanded upon by Alberto Fasja, co-president of Grupo Axo, during a phone interview from Mexico City. Many Mexican consumers, particularly young women, will be more comfortable shopping in the assisted self-service specialty store environment where all the brands are presented together with an absence of the pressure selling tactics often encountered in department stores, he said.
The Mexican beauty market includes mass and class segments, plus a large direct-selling market, adding up to an estimated $500 million in annual retail sales. “It feels like a natural place to do business,” observed Suliteanu, who added that the American chain now gets a lot of cross-border traffic from Mexico in its southern stores.
He said Sephora aims to open the first two stores in Mexico City late next year, then follow up with more openings annually in following years, “governed by the speed with which we learn to understand the consumer.” Suliteanu added that sephora.com, a big generator of the chain’s business, will probably enter Mexico about the same time. And the merchandise mix will be different.
In the U.S., Sephora’s assortment is led by color cosmetics. In Mexico, it will lean heavily toward fragrance. Moreover, the top tier of brands will be a select list of European-oriented international labels often found in Europe, including Dior, Clinique and Lancôme. The second tier will consist of an American subset, and the third tier will contain the Sephora private label collection, Suliteanu said.
Grupo Axo distributes and retails 10 top fashion and shoe brands, ranging from Marc Jacobs and Coach to Guess and Thomas Pink to Payless. “[Grupo Axo] will have a hands-on approach; we are the largest multibrand company in Mexico,” said Andres Gomez, co-president, adding that the company operates 100 stores. “We have the best spaces in the malls.”
According to the company, Sephora will lend its global beauty expertise to the venture, while Grupo Axo will weigh in with its experience in developing prestige brands in Mexico, leveraging its knowledge of local markets and its grasp ofreal estate, human resources, information technology, finance, retail operations, marketing and public relations. The venture will be operated by a management committee, run by a yet-to-be-hired general manager, that will report to both Sephora and Grupo Axo.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast