After two months of coronavirus-related store closures, Sephora is planning a phased reopening in the U.S. starting May 22.
Sephora will open 70 stores across 13 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Alabama, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Georgia. Those stores will implement Sephora Health & Hygiene safety guidelines, which include display-only testers, temperature checks and Plexiglass at checkout.
“While the retail environment will feel different and many factors will remain out of our hands, we’ve learned to embrace what we can control. We are taking an intentionally measured and phased approach to reopening, putting the priority on the health and safety of our communities,” said Sephora Americas president and chief executive officer Jean-André Rougeot. “As we gradually reopen our stores over the next few months, we have taken great care in how we welcome back our employees and our clients. We are grateful for our clients’ support the past two months, and we want to safeguard the experience for those who want to return to stores. We will follow guidance from the CDC, government and health authorities in tandem with extensive supplemental safety measures to formalize our new Sephora Health & Hygiene Guidelines that safeguard the in-store shopping experience.”
Sephora’s Health and Hygiene guidelines include:
• Stores will have restricted capacities to allow for social distancing. Stores will have a line coordinator that will ensure adequate space, and markers will be placed 6 feet apart in the line for the registers and entrances. Aisles will run one way.
• Before they reopen, all stores will be deep-cleaned and equipped with hygiene supplies and hand sanitizer. Store teams will be constantly cleaning throughout the day, Sephora said in a statement.
• Testers will be display-only, and in-store services will be suspended for now. Sephora is asking customers to look to store workers or its suite of virtual tools to aid with product selection.
• Employees will wear face masks, and Sephora will provide disposable masks for customers to wear in stores. Face coverings will be mandated in some locations, in accordance with regional guidelines.
• Employee temperatures will be checked at the beginning and middle of shifts.
• Returns will be accepted — including products bought within 30 days of store closures due to COVID-19 — but products will be destroyed upon their return.
• Every other register in stores will be closed in order to social distance point-of-sale workers. Payment screens will be sanitized before and after transactions. Baskets will also be sanitized, and Plexiglass screens will be put up across all stores.
• Each Sephora store has designated a hygiene leader who will make sure the new Health & Hygiene Guidelines are implemented.
Additionally, Sephora will give a 10 percent discount on in-store purchases to health-care workers or emergency workers with current ID through 2020. Sephora donated more than 350,000 beauty products to health-care workers and domestic violence survivors through its Project Care Package initiative. In June, the retailer will also sell washable cloth face masks for $10, with 50 percent of proceeds going to the Stronger Together Fund.
Sephora joins other retailers in navigating reopening after the COVID-19 pandemic rendered most doors closed. Sephora stores have been closed since March 17. Ulta Beauty, another U.S. specialty beauty retailer, opened 180 stores recently, and has instituted curbside pickup at more than 700 locations. Macy’s owned Bluemercury will open 115 stores for curbside service by the end of May.
Sephora laid off some part-time and season employees after stores closed, and a spokeswoman said, “It is our sincerest hope that we will be able to rehire these part-time employees in the future, but we do anticipate it will take some time for traffic to return to its pre-shutdown levels. As we begin to open up a portion of our U.S. stores, we have been able to offer a schedule to all of our retained employees, while also paying employees at stores that have not yet opened.” The spokeswoman also noted that Sephora retained 70 percent of its U.S. part-time and full-time store staff with full base pay and benefits.
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