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Industry Updates

Does Your Store Have a Hygiene Leader? Sephora Does


Sephora, the French chain of personal care and beauty stores that operates about 430 locations in North America, began to reopen stores May 22. In doing so, the retailer rolled out what it calls a “rigorous” set of new safety and client service protocols, called “Sephora Health & Hygiene Guidelines.”

Indeed, the guidelines, which include 48 safety procedures and extensive employee training, are rigorous and something that retailers from all spectrums can learn from. Sephora’s Health & Hygiene reopening plan includes the following actions for all U.S. stores:

  • Social distancing and capacity: All stores will adhere to social distancing guidelines and will have restricted store capacities to allow for this. Customers will be greeted by a line coordinator who will ensure adequate space and service levels, while guiding clients on how to make the most of their visit. Six-foot markers will be placed at lines in front of registers and store entrances. Capacity constraint guidance will be followed and store aisles will be designated for traffic in one direction as locally mandated.
  • Deep cleaning and enhanced hygiene measures: Prior to reopening, all stores will receive a deep cleaning and will be equipped with hygiene supplies and hand sanitizer throughout the space and store teams will be constantly cleaning throughout the day.
  • Testers and services: Testers are now for display only and in-store services are suspended until further notice. In addition to beauty advisor assistance, a suite of virtual tools are available to aid in any product selection process.
  • Face masks: All employees will wear face masks and Sephora will provide disposable masks for customers to wear in-store. In some locations, face coverings will be mandated for entry in store according to regional guidelines.
  • Temperature checks: Sephora will take all store employees’ temperatures at the beginning and in the middle of each shift.
  • Returns: Sephora has extended its return policy and will be accepting returns with receipts for all purchases made just prior to and during the shutdown for 30 days after store opening. All products returned will be destroyed until further notice to protect clients and employees.
  • Point of sale: Every other register in-store will be closed in an effort to promote social distancing and encourage clients to use contactless payment options. All payment screens will be sanitized before and after every transaction, baskets and bags will be sanitized, and plexiglass screens will be implemented in all stores.
  • Staff hygiene training: Each store has designated a “hygiene leader” who will oversee Sephora’s new Health & Hygiene Guidelines at all points of the shopping experience. All store staff have been trained and will work with the hygiene leader to maintain safety in stores.

“While the retail environment will feel different and many factors will remain out of our hands, we’ve learned to embrace what we can control,” said Jean-André Rougeot, president and CEO of Sephora Americas, based in New York. “We are taking an intentionally measured and phased approach to reopening, putting the priority on the health and safety of our communities.”