On July 23, Sephora announced it had signed an agreement with Palamon Capital Partners and other shareholders to buy Feelunique. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but a report valued Feelunique at 132 million pounds.
“Feelunique is known for their unparalleled customer experience, deep e-commerce expertise and knowledge of the U.K. consumer. We look forward to learn from each other and write a new chapter together,” Martin Brok, president and chief executive officer of Sephora, said in a statement.
“Sephora is an iconic retailer in the prestige beauty space in Europe. We are looking forward to working together and leverage our respective strengths,” said Sarah Miles, CEO of Feelunique.
Feelunique, which has both retail and marketplace channels, was founded in 2005. It counts 1.3 million active customers, and more than 35,000 cosmetics and fragrance product from 800-plus brands, from the most established to niche. The platform offers makeup, skin care, hair care, fragrance, accessories, devices and sexual wellness products.
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The company ships to more than 120 countries and boasts dedicated websites in European Union countries, including France, Germany and Norway, as well as the U.S. and China.
The bulk of Feelunique’s sales stem from Generation Z consumers and Millennials under the age of 35.
Sephora is seeking to make new inroads in the U.K. The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned retail giant has long been locked out of the U.K. market because of the dominance of Boots.
Additionally, because of duties resulting from Brexit, Sephora no longer delivers products to the U.K.
In 2000, Sephora opened its first U.K. location at the Bluewater Mall in Kent. Five years later, in April 2005, WWD reported the retailer would close all nine of its U.K. stores. Three of its U.K. outposts had already shuttered by then. The original idea had been to open 50 Sephora locations in the British market within a few years, but there was fierce competition from Boots, as well as upmarket beauty retailers such as Space NK.
A sale has been a long time coming for Feelunique. At the end of 2018, its owners called off another sale after bidders did not match the site’s valuation of 200 million pounds.
Not long after, Joël Palix, Feelunique’s longtime CEO, exited the company and was succeeded by Miles. She joined from Amazon Inc., where she had served as EU marketing and new business director at Amazon Fashion.
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