Asia Major

The retail powerhouse Sephora is solidifying its presence in China and Southeast Asia. Here, a look ahead.

Appeared In
Special Issue
Beauty Inc issue 06/17/2011

For many international brands, the road to Asia leads through Sephora. The LVMH Möet Hennessy Louis Vuitton–owned retailer has been aggressively pursuing expansion from mainland China to Malaysia, with striking flagships that make a bold statement. In China, the retailer will have 100 stores by the end of this year, plus a comprehensive e-commerce program. According to a spokesperson, most of its stores are in tier-one cities, but tiers two and three are growing rapidly. In Southeast Asia, Sephora is less developed but equally as ambitious. Currently, there are four stores in Singapore, a number expected to increase to 15, while in the area overall, the spokesperson said, plans call for up to 50 stores. In early May, Sephora opened a striking cubist-inspired flagship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, measuring over 10,000 square feet and carrying brands such as Dior, Clinique, Lancôme, Amazing Cosmetics, Bare Minerals and Urban Decay. Said the spokesperson, “Overall, Southeast Asia will see huge growth.”

This story first appeared in the June 17, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Top 5 Brands in Sephora Southeast Asia

1. Sephora Private Label
2. MAC
3. Bare Escentuals
4. Urban Decay
5. Benefit

Top 5 Brands in Sephora China

1. Sephora Private Label
2. Dior
3. For Beloved One
4. Estée Lauder
5. Lancôme

Must-See TV
This summer, Sephora will stage its own reality TV show in China. Called Sephora Beauty Academy, the program will pit 12 finalists from Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing against each other in a series of beauty challenges (including making up models backstage at a Marc Jacobs fashion show). In the finale, the last three contestants will work together to stage a fashion show, with the winner being named Sephora China Beauty Ambassador. “The program will bring out the educational and entertaining sides of makeup and will teach the Chinese audience about the fashion and beauty lifestyle,” says a spokesperson. “We’re also aiming to discover and foster more talents in China who love being beautiful and are commited to spreading the beauty.” Produced in conjunction with Shanghai Dragon TV and French Gold, the series will start airing on July 28, and also features guest stars like designer Diane von Furstenberg.