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Industry Consumer goods
Founded 1969[1]
Founder Dominique Mandonnaud[1]
Headquarters Paris, France
Key people
Calvin McDonald (President and CEO of Sephora Americas), Chris de Lapuente Global (President & CEO Sephora)
Products Cosmetics & beauty
Revenue €1.94 billion (2012)
Parent LVMH

Sephora is a French chain of cosmetics stores founded in 1969.[2][3] Featuring nearly 300 brands,[4] along with its own private label, Sephora offers beauty products including makeup, skincare, body, fragrance, nail color, and haircare. Sephora is owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH as of 1997.[3][5] The Sephora logo is a white "S"-shaped flame against a black background. The name comes from the Greek spelling of Zipporah (Greek: Σεπφώρα, Sepphōra), the most beautiful wife of Moses.


Sephora first launched in Paris in a partnership between the UK’s Boots PLC and Nouvelles Galeries as a perfumery chain in 1970. It was purchased by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1993, who merged the purchase with his own perfume chain under the Sephora brand. Mandonnaud is credited for founding and implementing Sephora’s "assisted self-service," sales experience, which departed from then-typical retail models for cosmetics by encouraging customers to try products in-store before purchasing.[6][7]

Mandonnaud continued to expand the Sephora brand through the 1990’s, opening up its flagship store in Champs Élysées in 1997. In July 1997, Mandonnaud and his partners sold Sephora to LVMH, who expanded the stores globally and bolstered the chain’s product offerings to include beauty and cosmetic products.[3]

Sephora's flagship store on Champs Élysées

Sephora opened its first United States store in New York City in 1998 and its first Canadian store in Toronto in 2004.[8][9] Its North American headquarters is located in San Francisco, with corporate offices in New York City and Montréal. Sephora currently operates over 360 stores across North America.[8]

Sephora, Toronto Eaton Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Sephora launched its online store to the U.S. in 1999 and into Canada in 2003.[8] The Canadian head office was opened in February 2007 by Marie-Christine Marchives, a former Sephora U.S. and Sephora France employee. Marie-Christine Marchives returned to France in July 2010 to become the General Manager of Sephora France. She was replaced in Canada by Klaus Ryum-Larsen. Sephora currently operates over 1,700 stores in 30 countries worldwide generating over $4 billion in revenue as of 2013.[3][10] As of September 2013, the Sephora at Champs Élysées in Paris, France, attracts over six million people a year.[11]

In 2000, purchased the assets of for "high six-figures".[12][13]

In 2010, Women's Wear Daily named Sephora the specialty retailer of the year.[14][15]

On 18 November 2014, four customers filed a class action lawsuit against Sephora. The suit alleges that Sephora engaged in racial discrimination by wrongfully deactivating the customer rewards accounts of Asian customers under the pretense that these customers were buying products from Sephora in bulk and reselling them.[16][17]

On 1 January 2014, Calvin McDonald replaced David Suliteanu as president and chief executive officer of Sephora Americas. Suliteanu was named CEO of Kendo Brands, another business in the LVMH portfolio.[18]

In 26 August 2016, Sephora opened its 400th location on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago. The store is the city's new flagship location.[19]

Subscription Service[edit]

In August 2015 it was announced that Sephora would launch a subscription service: Play! By Sephora. The monthly subscription service will offer boxes containing five products for $10 a month.[20] Boston, Columbus, and Cincinnati are the only three cities to test the initial service launch in September 2015. The service is scheduled to launch throughout the US in 2016.[21]


Sephora features a variety of beauty products from more than 100 brands including NARS Cosmetics, Make Up For Ever, Mode Signature, Urban Decay, First Aid Beauty, Sunday Riley Skincare, Philosophy, Tatcha Aburatorigami,[22] and Too Faced Cosmetics. Sephora also features its own make-up, skincare, and beauty tools/accessories. Packaging for the line features the company's elongated flame logo in standard black print.

In 2013, the brand debuted fragrance collections with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, and a makeup line with Marc Jacobs.[23]

Sephora Inside JCPenney[edit]

In October 2006, Sephora began opening stores inside JCPenney. Sephora inside JCPenney features some of the same makeup, skincare, and fragrance brands as well as its own product line found in stand alone stores nationwide. Sephora inside JCPenney stores are much smaller than a normal store, usually 1,500 sq ft in size.[24] There are more than 400 Sephora locations in JCPenney stores across the US.[3][25]

Environmental record[edit]

Sephora’s sustainable development initiatives were recognized in December 2015.[26] The company received the Sustainable Brand label, as well as the 2015 R Award for eco-design by the Génération Responsible association. Global Cosmetic News reported that Sephora's newly launched display cases have a 30% lighter metal frame that will reduce CO2 emissions by 220 metric tons.[27]


  1. ^ a b "About Sephora". Sephora. 
  2. ^ SHERMAN, LAUREN. "Inside Sephora's Branded Beauty Strategy". Business of Fashion. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Loeb, Walter. "Sephora: Department Stores Cannot Stop Its Global Growth". Forbes. Retrieved 3 January 2014. 
  4. ^ Wood Rudolph, Heather (19 February 2015). "Interview Insider: How to Get Hired at Sephora". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Born, Pete (24 October 2013). "Calvin McDonald Named CEO of Sephora Americas". WWD. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Sephora Holdings S.A. - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Sephora Holdings S.A.". References for Business. Retrieved 16 February 2016. 
  7. ^ "The Sephora Saga". Retrieved 16 February 2016. 
  8. ^ a b c "About Sephora". Sephora. Retrieved 23 March 2015. 
  9. ^ "Sephora". New York Magazine. Retrieved 24 October 2011. 
  10. ^ " About Us". Sephora. Retrieved 17 August 2012. 
  11. ^ MASIDLOVER, NADYA. "Paris Casts A Shadow Over Hours At Sephora". Wall Street Journal. 
  13. ^ Miles, Stephanie. " Buys Assets Of Defunct E-Tailer". Wall Street Journal. 
  14. ^ "WWD 2011 Beauty Inc Awards: Retailer of the Year". Women's Wear Daily. 
  15. ^ Hamilton, Anita (4 January 2012). "How an Upstart Beauty Company Broke into the Big Leagues Read more: How an Upstart Beauty Company Broke into the Big Leagues - Ideas for Small Business". Time. 
  16. ^ "Civil Complaint" (PDF). PacerMonitor. Retrieved 30 October 2015. 
  17. ^ "Sephora Class Action Lawsuit". Sephora Class Action Lawsuit. Retrieved 4 February 2016. 
  18. ^ "McDonald Named Sephora Americas President/CEO, Suliteanu To Become Kendo Brands CEO". Beauty Store Business Magazine. 
  19. ^ Tribune, Chicago. "Sephora's Magnificent Mile store has new, high-tech look". 
  20. ^ Novellino, Teresa. "Birchbox is about to meet a French foe: Sephora". Biz Journals. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  21. ^ Malamut, Melissa. "Boston Is One of Three Test Cities for the New Sephora Box". Boston. Retrieved 14 August 2015. 
  22. ^ "TATCHA Skin Care". Sephora. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "Beauty Boom: Is Sephora Becoming High Fashion's Next Target?". Time. 9 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "About Us | Sephora". Sephora. Retrieved 27 January 2016. 
  25. ^ "Sephora inside jcp". Sephora. 
  26. ^ "Sephora receives Responsible Brand label and 2015 R Award for eco-design". LVMH Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  27. ^ Miles, Louise Prance. "Sephora honored for sustainable development initiatives with eco award". Global Cosmetic News. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Sephora at Wikimedia Commons