French beauty retailer Sephora will open the doors to its first New Zealand store on Auckland's Queen St this month.
The flagship three-storey store located at 152 Queen St will open at 9am on Saturday July 20 in an elaborate opening ceremony which will include a dance number from the retailer's Auckland employees, confetti showers, a live DJ, and an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.
READ MORE: • Sephora reveals NZ store to open next month
Sephora says it expects a large turnout ahead of the opening and it would be giving away gift bags to customers first in line, along with free coffee and crepes in a nod to the retailer's French heritage.
Sephora's 14-metre double-decker tour bus will be onsite for the store opening, following its road trip through Christchurch, Wellington and other parts of Auckland earlier this month.
Work on the Queen St store began in April and the Herald understands the retailer spent more than $5 million for the interior fit-out. To have a store of this size and scale complete within a three-month timeframe is an incredibly short turnaround.
The international retailer, which has large stores in more than 12 countries, began advertising for local sales staff and make-up artists in April. Representatives from the company were understood to be scouting locations for its first New Zealand store early last year.
Speculation of Sephora opening a physical New Zealand store has been rife for the best part of five years, though the retailer has remained tight-lipped on its plans for the market.
Sephora has quietly been running a local online store and delivering its product around the country for quite some time, and in May last year it registered Sephora New Zealand with the Companies Office, under parent company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.
Heart of the City chief executive Viv Beck said Sephora's Queen St store would be good for beauty businesses trading in the area.
"It's an exciting time for the city centre, with major global brands choosing to open their flagship stores here, bringing new international flavour to our already diverse retail sector," Beck said in April.
Queen St is visited by more than 15 million people each year.
"With significant investment happening along the street, it's an obvious choice for big brands like Sephora to make their New Zealand debut."
The Herald understands Sephora will also open a store at Sylvia Park shopping mall in Auckland before Christmas.