Rumours of the deal started circulating this week, with LVMH-owned Sephora confirming the buy today. The transaction, subject to anti-trust clearance, was expected to close during the second semester of 2021, between March and July next year. Palamon Capital Partners had headed up the acquisition agreement alongside other shareholders.
The buy will see Sephora take on Feelunique’s 35,000-strong product cosmetic and fragrance portfolio and 1.3 million active customers.
European growth and UK prestige beauty push
Martin Brok, president and CEO of Sephora, said: “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-ten 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,” Brok said.
Last month, Sephora also partnered with German e-commerce fashion major Zalando in a move that the two companies said would create a “new, innovative online prestige beauty experience for millions of Zalando customers”.
Balancing prestige beauty within the ‘skinimalism’ trend
Sarah Miles, CEO of Feelunique, said: “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.”
However, the companies would have to keep a close eye on the ‘skinimalism’ trend rising in the UK and leading to a 23% decline in 2020 UK prestige skin care sales, according to The NPD Group. A sales dip was seen across prestige face creams, cleansers and exfoliators for the year as consumers looked to strip back beauty routines – a trend also seen elsewhere across the globe.
But in an interview with our sister site CosmeticsDesign-Asia in May, Sephora already acknowledged this trend, noting streamlined and multi-purpose beauty was rising in importance across skin care, hair care and makeup.