After closing stores across America in response to COVID-19, Sephora announced that some of its retail locations are preparing to reopen. Select locations will begin to reopen on Friday, May 22, and as the beauty retailer prepares to welcome back customers, the company announced a number of changes to its shopping experience. For those preparing to venture out when their local Sephora reopens, here's what to expect.
In a statement shared with press on May 19, Jean-André Rougeot, President and CEO of Sephora Americas, confirmed the company is taking "an intentionally measured and phased approach to reopening, putting the priority on the health and safety of our communities."
That measured approach includes a number of new guidelines aimed at keeping customers and employees safe, including putting tester products out for display only, continued social distancing practices, deep cleaning of each store preparing to reopen, and the requirement that all employees will wear a face mask. Sephora will also ask its customers to wear masks, but confirmed it will provide a facial covering to any shopper that doesn't have one.
Other new practices include employee temperature checks, the use of only every other register, and the introduction of a staff member devoted solely to overseeing the cleanliness of the store. Additionally, In-store services and classes will remain suspended, the number of shoppers allowed in the store will be limited, and samples will be limited to "commercially pre-packaged samples." Samples will be limited in nature and vary by store, the company said.
Stores planning to reopen are currently listed on the Sephora website, and in a statement to NYLON, Sephora's press team shared how reopening locations were decided upon. "Protecting the health and well-being of our employees and our clients is our top priority. We recognize that COVID-19 has had a unique impact on various regions. Therefore, we are reopening stores only in regions where officials have begun to lift restrictions on certain businesses," the statement read.
News of stores opening back up comes after the company faced social media scrutiny for its decision to layoff some of its part-time employees. Closing all of its stores back in March, Sephora had intended to reopen on April 3. When that reopening date was unable to be met, the company announced layoffs which they told NYLON had impacted 3,754 employees working "limited-hours."
At the time of the layoffs, Sephora had previously said it would pay all of its employees for "scheduled shifts during the duration of the closures, as well as health and wellness benefits for employees currently enrolled." However, that plan was announced before the company extended the date of its closures beyond the planned April 3 reopening.
In a statement to NYLON, Sephora's press team addressed the future of those once employed by the company, saying, "It is our sincerest hope that we will be able to rehire these part-time employees in the future, but we do anticipate it will take some time for traffic to return to its pre-shutdown levels. As we begin to open up a portion of our US stores, we have been able to offer a schedule to all of our retained employees, while also paying employees at stores that have not yet opened." The company has retained more than 9,000 full time and part time employees (or 70%) with full pay and benefits.
As for remaining Sephora reopenings, the company said in its statement its taking its lead from local governments and health guidance. It expects to see a continued gradual reopening process continue over the next few months.