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This article was published 21/1/2009 (3946 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Sephora, the France-based chain of beauty stores with more than 750 locations in 21 countries, has signed a lease to take over the 6,000-square-foot space at Polo Park Shopping Centre recently vacated by Tommy Hilfiger.
Marie Marchives, vice-president of Sephora Canada, said its May opening in Winnipeg is part of a countrywide expansion that will take the company from 12 stores today to 50 in a few years.
"I visited Winnipeg last year and I didn't see anything that looks like us. I think it's a good city for Sephora," she said.
Marchives, who moved from France two years ago to oversee the Canadian expansion, said half of its cosmetics, makeup and fragrances are exclusive to Sephora and can't be found at any other retailer. She said the company targets both men and women throughout the entire life cycle.
"Our clients start at 15 years old up to 70. We're not a destination only for 30-year-old clients," she said.
Marchives said the complete absence of counters in Sephora stores makes it easier for customers, particularly ill-at-ease men, to shop.
"That's so the client can try everything. It's freedom. They can play with the product, try them and test them," she said.
Even though the store won't open for four months, Marchives said she plans to have a store manager hired by the end of the week and 25 employees in short order after that.
"We'll give them more than two months of training. We'll train them in every single brand, product and in client service," she said.
Deborah Green, general manager of Polo Park Shopping Centre, said Sephora will complement recent arrivals to the city's largest mall, such as Lululemon Athletica, Quiksilver, Town Shoes and Lucky Brand Jeans.
"I think they'll have a citywide draw, probably provincewide. We're very excited to have them," she said.
Robert Warren, I.H. Asper executive director for entrepreneurship at the University of Manitoba, agreed. He said Sephora is a good fit for Polo Park because it's higher-end, fashion-oriented and with a good reputation. He said news of its arrival is a nice counter to the non-stop doom and gloom media coverage of the economy.
Warren said Sephora will also fill something of a void in Winnipeg as the city is underserved in the cosmetics sector.
"There's much more emphasis on targeting different ethnic groups (in cosmetics) today and Winnipeg is very ethnically diverse," he said.
Warren said cosmetics for men is the up-and-coming market, but both sexes have increased the amount of money spent on moisturizers, colognes and perfumes in recent years.
"We're spending much more time looking good these days," he said.