- Kohl’s hopes its Sephora partnership will help triple its sales in beauty in coming years.
- Retailers are looking toward the beauty category to build loyalty with customers.
- Target recently partnered with Ulta to open makeup shops in the discount retailer’s stores.
Sephora will open hundreds of beauty shops inside Kohl’s stores in coming years in a deal that rivals Target’s recent partnership with Ulta Beauty.
Some 200 Sephora at Kohl’s locations will open by next fall, rising to at least 850 sites by 2023, the companies announced Tuesday. Sephora will also launch on Kohl’s website next year, offering more than 100 beauty brands, some of which are exclusive to Sephora.
The announcement of the 10-year partnership comes weeks after Target unveiled plans to open hundreds of Ulta makeup shops inside the discount retailer’s stores.
The beauty category has historically been dominated by America’s department store chains, but it is now increasingly moving out of malls, giving retailers that had been hardly invested in the category an opportunity to steal share.
“When we think about the beauty industry today, we’re very underrepresented,” Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said. “It’s a huge market [and] it’s expected to grow over the next few years.”
The Sephora shops on Kohl’s will be about 2,500 square feet, offering most of the same services found at other Sephora stores, including help with makeup application, and replacing Kohl’s current beauty assortment.
Kohl’s employees trained by Sephora will staff the locations, which will be positioned near the front of the store and occasionally accessible by a separate entrance, Gass said. The Sephora logo will join Kohl’s outside the stores.
“We’re going to be very loud about this,” Gass said. “There’s no question that [shoppers] will see Sephora from the exterior of the building.”
While the beauty industry has been hurt by fewer women dressing up for the office and other special events during the Covid pandemic, some bright spots point to stronger days ahead.
U.S. sales of prestige beauty products — those sold mainly in department stores — dropped 17% year over year to $3.7 billion during the third quarter, according to The NPD Group. That marked a softer decline than during the second quarter, buoyed by nail products and body products like soaps and exfoliators. Sales of fragrances were also up, according to the NPD data.
Ulta shares have gained nearly 9% this year, bringing its market value to $15.5 billion. Although sales in its stores declined, Ulta’s e-commerce revenue more than tripled in its fiscal second quarter ended Aug. 1, signaling strong demand for beauty products online.
LVMH, Sephora,’s parent does not breakout Sephora’s sales performance in its financial reports. At the end of fiscal 2019, though, the