British beauty retailer Space NK closes China stores after two years

British multi-brand beauty retailer Space NK has closed its shops in China, just two years after its debut there. 

The retailer had opened stores in Chinese metropolitan cities Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing and Chengdu, with eight stores in total. Following the coronavirus pandemic which saw most of the nation’s shops closed in February, the company this week confirmed reports that all of its stores have subsequently been shuttered and staff laid off.  

Space NK listed on Tmall two months ago and says that store will now close as well, essentially ending its foray into Mainland China.

CEO and former digital director of Space NK, Andy Lightfoot, told BW Confidential: “The simplification allows us to concentrate on our core business and operations while focusing investment on continuing to grow across all key markets, of which China remains one”.

Space NK’s international expansion continues to look towards the US and Canada with an aggressive launch across the UK market.

Meanwhile, Azoya says a lack of promotion and strong competition from Sephora impacted Space NK’s performance in China.

“A brief comparison between Space NK’s China website and global website highlights the disparities between their global and China offerings. Although there are 170 brands on Space NK’s global official website, the company’s official website in China has only 39 brands or just 22.9 per cent of its global offerings,” Azoya wrote in an analysis shared with clients and contacts.

“In contrast, Sephora is working with 109 brands in the China market, even partnering with local Chinese brand Marie Dalgar. Sephora’s commitment to the China market and willingness to tailor their product selection to the Chinese consumer have been large contributors to its success in the market.”


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