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Sephora Confirms Purchase of Online Beauty Retailer Feelunique

July 26, 2021 BeautyMatter
July 26, 2021
Feel Unique

Sephora has confirmed it has agreed to buy the UK-based online beauty retailer Feelunique for an undisclosed sum from shareholders, including Palamon Capital Partners.

WHO: Beauty retailer and marketplace Feelunique was founded in Jersey by Aaron Chatterley and Richard Schiessl in 2005. The business gained a foothold and access to premium brands through an M&A strategy of acquiring hair salons in the Channel Islands and French perfumeries. Today, Feelunique sells more than 35,000 products from 800 brands, has 1.3 million active customers, and ships more than 18,000 products per day.

Sephora, founded in France more than 50 years ago, is now owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. With more than 2,600 stores across 35 countries, Sephora is one of the world's largest beauty retailers. It has more than 2,600 shops in more than 30 markets and also sells online, through mobile apps and social media networks.

WHY: Sephora pulled out of the UK some years ago; this deal could be a key step in establishing its presence in one of the top 10 global markets for prestige beauty. The purchase gives Sephora instant scale in the UK without needing to open stores.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Martin Brok, President and Chief Executive of Sephora, says: "The transaction is a key step in Sephora's European growth strategy and marks a first step for Sephora's presence into the United Kingdom, one of the top 10 biggest Prestige Beauty markets worldwide, with a very high level of digital adoption. UK consumers have a strong appetite for a carefully curated Prestige Beauty offer that is tailored to their needs, and provided through a consumer-centric, seamless experience."

Sarah Miles, Chief Executive of Feelunique, adds: "Sephora is an iconic retailer in the Prestige Beauty space in Europe. We are looking forward to working together and leverage our respective strengths to drive the Prestige beauty segment in the UK."

DETAILS:

  • Sephora has agreed to buy Feelunique for an undisclosed sum. The deal was rumored to be £132 million.
  • Feelunique's sales in the year to March 29 were £103.5 million, up 26% on the previous year, with sales on its marketplace alone growing by 695% to account for 2% of total sales. EBITDA came in at £2.5 million, up from an EBITDA loss of £5 million the previous year.
  • Private equity firm Palamon Capital bought Feelunique for £26 million in 2012.
  • Amazon executive Sarah Miles was named CEO in 2019, and the current management team will stay in place post-acquisition.
  • In 2000, Sephora opened its first UK location at the Bluewater Mall in Kent but closed all nine of its UK stores just five years later.
  • In June, Sephora announced strategic partnership with Zalando, Europe's leading online platform for fashion and lifestyle, to create the ultimate online prestige beauty destination for millions of Zalando customers starting in Q4 2021. (link: https://beautymatter.com/articles/sephora-and-kohls-unveil-assortment-of-125-prestige-beauty-brands text: Sephora will begin the rollout in 200 Kohl's stores for 2021 with 850 doors planned in August.
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