Going online today, the sephora.co.uk website replaces the Feelunique.com store acquired last year. This launch was announced last week as a prelude to the opening of brick-and-mortar stores in the UK, with a first flagship that mgiht open in London for spring 2023.

At that time, Sephora’s CEO said the transaction was "a key step" in the retailer’s European growth strategy and "a first step for Sephora’s presence into the United Kingdom.” Indeed, Sephora had exited the U.K. retail market in May 2005 after opening just six stores in five years, the first of which was in the Bluewater shopping centre outside London.

In any case, Feelunique’s reward programme will stay in place, under the name Sephora Rewards, with customers receiving £5 off for every £75 spent, as well as other benefits.

A hotly contested market

The United Kingdom is one of the top 10 biggest prestige beauty markets worldwide, with a very high level of digital adoption. However, Boots’ strong positions in this market has long been a big hurdle for the French group. The Walgreens-owned chain claims that its UK market share is above 40 per cent for skin, makeup and premium beauty. Boots also claims that beauty makes up 50 per cent of sales on Boots.com. Other competitors include luxury retailer Space NK and e-tailer Cult Beauty.

‘Express All of You’ campaign

To celebrate their UK launch, Sephora has partnered with creative agency AKQA with a campaign focusing on the UK’s “living tapestry” of cultures and identities.

Dubbed ‘Express All of You’, the campaign, which has been directed by London-born photographer Felicity Ingram, tells the story of relatable expressions of British beauty through the portraits of five individuals.

The beauty retailer, said the campaign sets out to authentically connect with the hearts and minds of British audiences by inviting viewers to unleash their beauty power.