A retail challenge is at hand as Sephora decides to make a return in the UK market and Space NK unveils its newest retail concept.

A retail challenge is looming over the UK beauty market as Sephora is all set to return, and Space NK unveils its biggest retail concept yet. Sephora has chosen the Westfield White City mall to be its location for its objective of March 2023. The mall has become an important spot for the beauty market as well as the rich, passionate, and elite British shoppers.

Image source: CNBC

As per Euromonitor, ahead of France and behind Germany, the UK beauty market is the sixth largest in the world. The market is growing at a 6.27% CAGR. In 2022, the market was estimated to be approximately 23 thousand crore rupees, while it is predicted to reach approximately 32 thousand crore rupees by 2024. The British beauty retail market is strikingly competitive and crippled.

Stirling Murray, the founder and managing director of The Red Tree, recently expressed that regarding quality, price, and brands, British beauty consumers are knowledgeable and discerning. As there are fewer sheer play beauty specialists in the UK than there are in the US, most customers prefer visiting Boots and Superdrug for convenience along with the more specialized beauty stores in question.

Image – Time Out

Retail Challenge Showdown: Sephora

With the purchase of Feelunique in July 2021 for an estimated 11 hundred crore rupees, Sephora laid the foundation for returning to the market after leaving in 2005. From 800 brands, the online store sold more than 35,000 items at the time of the transaction. Shipping more than 18 thousand items each day, it had around 13 lakhs active users. 

With the launch of a new app, the addition of 38 new brands to the lineup, and the rebranding of the Feelunique social media channels and website with Sephora branding last October, the market relaunch began with a shaky start. 

UK beauty enthusiasts were let down by the rebranding because they anticipated a genuine Sephora experience. Little is known about the market’s brick-and-mortar strategy of Sephora outside of its first location in London.

Retail Challenge Showdown: Space NK

Since Nicky Kinnaird first established the first location in Covent Garden in 1993, Space NK has been the sole specialised beauty retailer in the industry. The retailer operates more than 75 stores in the UK and Ireland. It appears that Space NK, which is backed by Manzanita, has been gearing up for Sephora’s relaunch in its native market. 

Space NK has experienced strong financial growth, which is primarily attributable to investments in infrastructure and a customer-centric approach. During the 12 months ending in March 2022, its turnover reportedly increased to approximately 12 hundred crores by growth of approximately 918 crores. 

Last year, in its previous Covent Garden location, the retailer opened a 2,100-square-foot outpost in the brand-new Battersea Power Station in addition to a new 2,000-square-foot, two-story flagship. A number of exclusive brand launches in 2022, such as Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez, Jonathan Van Ness’ JVN, and Tatcha, went hand in hand with the evolution of the shopping experience.

Image – Allure

Retail Challenge Showdown: Ground Zero

As Murray expressed, Westfield White City mall remains a vital spot for the market challenge as it is not only globally recognized but also has a suitable location in addition to a cross-section of consumers. Thus, it remains an attractive spot for beauty shoppers.

Along with Westfield, Sephora and Space NK are also targeting major departmental stores like House of Fraser, M&S, John Lewis and Partners, Debenhams, and Next. Additionally, there will be competition from independent service and retail concepts with 43 other beauty and health brands, with brand-name stores like – Aesop, MAC, and Charlotte Tilbury, as well as Boots and Holland & Barrett.

The Westfield White City is the ideal setting where you can find the mix between mass market and luxury, according to Sarah Boyd, the new Managing Director of Sephora UK. The Sephora store, which is expected to open in March, will be over 6,000 square feet large and feature more than 140 brands, many of which are only available in the UK. Though there are many other locations that Sephora is considering for the future. 

With an emphasis on offering an immersive customer experience, Space NK Westfield represents a significant renovation of an existing store. At 2,500 square feet, it has a footprint that is four times larger than the original location at Westfield London. A play table for product testing, two facial treatment rooms, expert pods for one-on-one consultations, a section solely for fragrances, a refill and recycling station for Space NK Hand and Body products, and recycling for used beauty packaging from any brand are all included in the store.


Pursuing graduation in English Literature. Aspiring journalist and author. Part time content writer. Currently interning with Asiana Times.


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