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In-store expertise comes to the fore as Under Armour and Sephora open UK stores to reach customers directly

Sephora's new Westfield London store. Image courtesy of Sephora

In-store expertise and advice come to the fore this week as international brands Under Armour and Sephora both open UK shops in the latest phase of their direct-to-consumer strategies. 

France-based Sephora has opened its first UK shop following its acquisition last year of Feelunique. The beauty retailer, part of the LMVH house of luxury brands, is now trading from a 6,000 sq ft shop in Westfield London. The store boasts professional make-up services from Sephora University trained beauty advisors, alongside a beauty hub, Sephora’s first lip bar, and a ‘hot on social’ curation of trending products.

Similarly, customers at Under Armour’s new Battersea Power Station ‘UK brand house’ – can call on the Under Armour Next Academy, where members of the UA Athlete Performance Team offer “next-level training, physiological assessments and performance guidance” in a space that accounts for 150 sq m of a 502 sq m store. The brand aims to support elite youth athletes. 

“There is no better location for us to signal our intent for growth in the UK and wider EMEA region than the renowned and recently reinvented Battersea Power Station,” says Kara Trent, managing director EMEA at Under Armour. “While the power station is setting the bar for offering customers an unparalleled retail experience – so too are we with our unique Under Armour Next Academy built within the store.

“At Under Armour we often talk about how we are supporting athletes to become better and find the determination and hard work which lead to true success. Now we are doing so in a way that the world can see – hopefully inspiring all who visit to level up and become their best.”

The store is Baltimore-based Under Armour’s second in the UK, following the launch last month of its first in the Liverpool One shopping centre. 

The retailer is opening a series of new stores UK in response to fast-growing direct-to-consumer demand in both the UK and Europe. In the third quarter of its financial year, to December 31 2022, Under Armour reported They follow record 32% EMEA sales growth in the third quarter of 2022, well ahead of global revenues, which grew by 3.4% to $1.6bn (£1.3bn).

Under Armour is ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research.

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