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Sephora, Kohl's partner on store-in-store beauty destinations


Kohl’s is betting big on beauty — and Sephora.

The department store retailer and Sephora announced a long-term partnership that will see the beauty giant open hundreds of in-store shops inside Kohl’s stores. Some 200 shops will open by next fall and expand into at least 850 Kohl’s stores by 2023. The deal comes less than a month after Target announced an in-store partnership with Ulta Beauty. 

The Sephora at Kohl’s shops will average 2,500 sq. ft. and be prominently positioned at the front of the store. The shops will offer about100 brands, including some higher-end, and replace Kohl’s current beauty assortment. They will be staffed by Sephora-trained beauty advisors. 

Exterior signage for the in-store shops will feature both Kohl’s and Sephora branding. Some of the shops will have their own entrance. 

As part of the agreement, Kohl’s will convert the beauty selection on its website to showcase an expanded assortment of Sephora’s prestige products. Sephora will be Kohl’s exclusive beauty partner online as of fall 2021.

Kohl’s, which has more than 1,150 stores nationwide, said that the locations of the Sephora shops will be determined based on existing Sephora store proximity, market opportunity and customer insights. 

This is not Sephora’s first partnership with a U.S. retailer. In 2009, the company entered into a deal with J.C. Penney to open mini-shops inside select Penney locations. The partnership with J.C. Penney is set to wind down in early 2023, Jean-Andre Rougeot, CEO at Sephora USA, told The Associated Press.

In an emailed statement, a J.C. Penney spokesperson said that the company’s partnership with Sephora “remains strong and will continue until the end of the agreement. In tandem with operating Sephora inside J.C. Penney throughout that time period, we are developing a new, inclusive beauty concept that offers our customers a wide array of product.” 

According to Kohl's, the in-store Sephora shops will offer customers the “signature Sephora experience, with a unique range of makeup, skincare, hair, and fragrance brands.  Sephora’s high-touch customer engagement will prominently feature testing and discovery zones that serve up a rotating assortment of new, emerging or trending products.”

The agreement comes as Kohl’s has announced a series of moves to accelerate its business. The retailer said the in-store Sephora shops will attract new and younger customers to Kohl’s.  At the same time, the partnership will give Sephora the opportunity to grow its customer base and provide a convenient, off-mall suburban shopping option. 

“This new collaboration is an excellent example of two customer-centric, purpose-driven companies leveraging each other’s strengths to make aspirational beauty far more accessible to millions of customers all across the country,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl’s CEO. “Today’s announcement is a perfect illustration of the bold moves we are making at Kohl’s to accelerate our growth and reimagine our future for the next era of retail.”

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