France's Sephora plans to open several shops in Iran starting next year, becoming one of the first major European specialist cosmetics retailers to directly invest in the country as it emerges from years of economic sanctions.
Sephora, part of luxury industry leader LVMH, running around 2,000 outlets worldwide, is keen to build its presence in Iran where there is a huge appetite for cosmetics and especially make-up.
With a population of nearly 80 million, Iran is the Middle East's second biggest market for beauty products after Saudi Arabia with annual sales reaching more than 3.5 billion euros($3.86 billion) in 2014, according to market research company Euromonitor.
"Sephora is currently finalizing talks with its partner in Iran," one of the sources close to the matter said. "Talks are already quite advanced with their distributors," another source said, declining to be named. One source said Sephora was hoping to open up to seven boutiques.
LVMH and Sephora declined to comment.