MILAN — Sephora will unveil a new retail concept on Feb. 24, when it opens the doors to its Corso Vittorio Emanuele store here.
This story first appeared in the February 12, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The 11,110-square-foot space will be the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned perfumery’s largest European location. Spanning three floors, the flagship will showcase a new architectural concept created to allow brands to have more space, better express themselves and entertain customers, according to Sephora executives.
The store’s debut coincides with the first day of Milan’s women’s wear fashion week, underscoring its “architectural concept that links it to the fashion world,” according an industry source. Sephora executives would not divulge more on the connection.
Upon entering the store, there is to be a dedicated area measuring approximately 330 square feet for a “theater-like brand showcase,” according to Laura Schiatti, marketing director of Sephora Italy. Each month, one brand can utilize the space with “music, tools and images [to create] a new entertainment shopping experience vital in this current climate,” she said. For beauty brands, the traditional Italian perfumery offers little in the way of in-store experiences, and the new Sephora Milan flagship aims to change this.
“We want our clients to express their personalities; they will be able to create and personalize and express themselves. We want the brand to be a star,” said Schiatti. To achieve this, each one is to be given “significantly larger space” than it would be allotted in a typical Sephora store.
How many more “stars” Sephora will invite into its new space is still undecided. “We have a lower-than-average level of stockkeeping units, devised to give the customer clarity,” said Schiatti on the differences between a Sephora store and a traditional Italian perfumery.
Sephora’s distinctive clean look and black-and-white-striped branding will remain. The newness is to come in the form of additional color to create a more emotional shopping experience and highlight individual store areas, according to company executives. Existing services such as the Beauty Bar will join a host of new options.
“The concept is to have the [greatest] number of services possible,” said Schiatti. “We are currently asking the brands we work with to suggest new services and ways of working.” Yes to Tomatoes, the paraben-free personal care product line that’s an offshoot of Yes to Carrots, is among the brands to be introduced in the Sephora flagship.
Based in a recently opened commercial area, the store has been designed to attract not only an increased number of customers but a new demographic of clientele from that of its existing Milan store on Via Dante.
“We really wanted to showcase this new retail concept in Milan, as it’s a fashion capital, and the market is very important to us,” said Schiatti.
The new Milan flagship is set to attract 1.5 million visitors in its first year, according to an industry source.
Sephora has 100 stores in Italy, its second-largest European market after France. Altogether, the perfumery chain has 560 European doors. — K.O.