Before opening its first Australian store in Sydney’s Pitt Street earlier this month, Sephora committed itself to adopting US pricing of its products – even if it meant subsiding prices.
Now a fortnight on since the opening the cosmetic giant is being called out for having some products on the market for 60% more than they are sold for in America.
The brand’s own label in particular appears to have the largest price discrepancy.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Sephora’s Natural Volume Mascara, which is sold for approximately $12 ($AUD15.66) in the US, is for sale in Sydney for a whopping $25 including GST.
Ravi Thakran, Asia and Middle East president for global luxury goods group LVMH, the company which owns Sephora, was very clear in his pronouncements about pricing strategy for Australia.
“Many brands have done a disservice and many retail players have also done a disservice to the retail consumer. I believe the Australian consumer does deserve to be treated exactly the same [as US consumers],” he said.
“It could be a short-term sacrifice for a long-term game and we certainly want to go for that.
“If a brand is already in the market we don’t tell them to give us a cheaper price [and] we don’t want to compete with department stores and other players based on lower pricing. But any brand we bring in we’ll bring that in with pricing equality [with the US].”
“I think in every market, not just Australia, it’s impossible given the advent of e-commerce to keep price differentiation,” said Thakran.
Thakran said he thought Sephora’s sales could reach $225 million to $250 million within five years.
Australian consumers have taken to social media with their anger following the realisation that the company had broken its promise. Here’s a sample:
Sephora, I am disappointed.
— Angel (@stillxchunsa) December 18, 2014
— Veronica Best (@veronicabest2u) December 18, 2014
Pretty disappointed with the new Sephora :(
— Katrina (@_kittysaurus) December 18, 2014
@lizduckchong so disappointed that the Sydney Sephora store won't undercut the prices of existing retailers.
— Sarah Claus (@sarahdaviscc) December 17, 2014
still a queue to get into #SephoraAU but now i don't feel excited to go cos some popular brands aren't available & prices aren't low
— Jade ♡ (@pinkybaby_jade) December 18, 2014
Did they think we wouldn't notice?Sephora not living up to promises on price: http://t.co/QQpNTVOFd4
— Rania Spooner (@Rania_Spooner) December 18, 2014
— mat_dunckley (@mat_dunckley) December 18, 2014
— Benjamin Farr (@bfarr81) December 18, 2014
— Mandi (@candidmandi) December 18, 2014
Sephora is yet to comment on the price discrepancies.
One of the latest international retailers to open in Sydney’s CBD, with Forever 21, Zara, Uniqlo and H&M all recently securing high profile retail spaces in Sydney, the business has further plans to open 20 stores in Australia.
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