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Sephora accelerates global expansion to tap 'thriving' beauty business

French cosmetics and personal care retailer Sephora SA is opening up to 150 stores a year globally to keep up with the "beauty revolution," the Financial Times reported May 21, citing Sephora CEO Chris de Lapuente.

The LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE-owned retail chain has seen strong growth in the past few years amid rising demand for cosmetic beauty products that have also benefitted cosmetic brands like L'Oréal SA and The Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.

"Our retail stores are thriving; they're alive, they're kicking," De Lapuente reportedly said, adding that the company is opening between 125 and 150 stores every year and constantly renovating its biggest and best stores.

Most new store openings will be concentrated in North America and Asia, where Chinese growth is expected to double in the next few years, according to the newspaper. In March, Sephora announced plans to open 35 new stores across the U.S. in 2019.

Sephora sees physical stores as a key component of its "omnichannel approach" that also includes e-commerce presence and building a community through social media, according to the report. Bricks-and-mortar stores are important for the company to "build wonderful relationships with our customers," De Lapuente said in an interview at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit in Madrid.

De Lapuente said Sephora will focus on "experiential retail" where customers are ensured of a good experience.

"I don't mind if the customer doesn't buy today [...] if they walk out of the store with a smile on their face feeling like they've been listened to, they've discovered something, they've had a wonderful experience, they'll come back and they'll buy something next time."

Sephora stocks about 300 brands and has 2,500 stores worldwide.