Less guards, more black brands: Cipora’s plan to win back shoppers

Pedestrians pass through a Cipora storefront in New York's Soho neighborhood in August.

Photographer: Nina Westerwelt / Bloomberg

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Sepora plans to rebalance its image with shoppers of color who allegedly have racial bias in stores and a lack of products that meet their needs.

The plan was unveiled on Wednesday, including reducing discrimination among its employees, doubling its classification of Black-owned brands by the end of the year, and bringing back third-party security forces. This is the boldest step ever To try to reestablish its reputation with LVMH-owned chain color customers who are always “fair and consistent” at their stores or in the wider retail industry, Jean-Andre Rougeot, as Chief Executive Officer in the US “Not having experience. , Outlined the action plan in a statement on Wednesday.

“We are seeing that there is a tremendous business opportunity for us as a retailer to meet the needs of all our customers,” said Deborah Yeh, Chief Marketing Officer of Sephora for America, noting that the company provides an environment Wants to make Shopkeepers and employees are welcome. “All retailers, Sephora included, have a financial incentive to obtain this right.”

Less guard related, more black brands: Cipora's plan from Back Win Shoppers

Deborah Yeh

Source: Sipora

For Sepora, this pressure is particularly necessary. It is quickly falling behind its largest direct competitor, Ulta Beauty Inc. in terms of sales. As recently as 2017, the two chains were neck and neck, both bringing in approximately US $ 5.9 billion in US sales, Data from the National Retail Federation shows. Just two years later, the reverse Sepora’s $ 5.9 billion raked in $ 7.4 billion.

As part of Sepora’s multi-pronged approach to re-engaging customers of color, it is updating its zero-tolerance policy to ensure that the continuum of racial-biased behavior Investigation is done. Ensuring an annual performance matrix for corporate employees is linked to diversity and inclusion goals will add accountability.

Beauty fight

Sephora is lower than its biggest rival, Ulta, in terms of US market share

Source: Euromonitor

The question is whether it will be enough to persuade people like Laquille Coleman to try Sipora again. On his 21st birthday in May 2011, Coleman had an experience that he said he shook her.

When she enters a Sephora in Dallas to get her makeup done, Coleman, who is Black, the beautician says if she brings her own foundation. She was not; She expected Sepora to match a shed on her face, just as it is for other customers. The aide said he did not know how to do “dark makeup” according to Coleman. When Coleman suggested the employee only do his eyeshadow, a second aide stepped in and said that they were not comfortable treating his skin tone, according to Coleman. She left the store with $ 300, which she planned to spend on products used during beauty sessions while still in her pocket.

Interviews with more than half a dozen current and former Sephora employees were not unique to Coleman’s experience. In a freestanding sepora inside a JC Penney located south of a small town in Minneapolis, the manager instructed employees to follow Somali customers around the store and go out of their way to help black customers, Who asked to help black customers that they were not ahead of their time. Former employee Rachel White said that she quit her job as beauty consultant there in July, no one would buy the goods. At a store in Arizona, a manager made several comments about the fairer skin of a black employee, according to an employee who should not be identified because he now works in another location.

The company declined to comment on these specific allegations. “We have millions of client and employee interactions every year and we take all negative experiences seriously, examining every claim we raise. These experiences are not reflective of our values ​​or the values ​​of our partners, ”the company said in an email statement after publishing this story. “We know there are more things ahead of us, but our priority is to cultivate inclusive experience and help advance Sipora, and the industry.”

Racial bias “occurs in all retail,” Yeoh said in an interview before the study’s release. “It is unfortunate that people feel like they need to cope to spend their hard-earned money in a store.”

Shoppers improve Manhattan Consumer Comfort Index

A pedestrian carries a Sephora shopping bag in New York.

Photographer: Nina Westerwelt / Bloomberg

According to an online survey of 3,034 American shoppers and 1,703,000 retail employees, two out of five US retail shoppers say they have experienced inappropriate behavior based on their skin color, with black consumers 2.5 compared to white people Times more. Was released on Wednesday. Sephora wrote in his report, “These conditions have lasting, economic consequences for a retailer, especially by 43% of shoppers who are black, indigenous or people of color who say that after such an incident again any store The location is unlikely to be visited. The survey was conducted in June 2020, shortly after George Floyd’s death at the hands of police.

Corporate America has publicly joined the race since months with varying levels of success. However, hollow statements on social media have targeted companies to diversify suppliers and hire more people of color, including top management roles, to move the needle. Some companies have gone so far as to unveil them all. Data on racial makeup of their employees. Sephora plans to share progress on bi-annual employee diversity on its website.

As of July, 6.5% of Sephora’s leadership in US stores, distribution centers and corporate offices Were black. Ulta said its executive team in August is 13% Black.

Regarding Siphora’s decision to commission the survey about retailers and bias, “retailers like Matrix,” said. “The incidents of racial bias and inappropriate behavior need to be measured as we are looking at other aspects.”

Related: Target Is Reaping It’s Looted Store With Black Shoppers In Mind


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