Home Money Body Shop lost its voice… and it will take more than hippy potions to get it back, says MAGGIE PAGANO

Body Shop lost its voice… and it will take more than hippy potions to get it back, says MAGGIE PAGANO

by Elijah
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On the brink: The Body Shop is about to close with a loss of 2,000 in its 200 UK stores

It’s always worrying when a once-powerful brand like The Body Shop is about to close.

It is doubly sad because of the potential loss of jobs (in this case 2,000 across the UK’s 200 stores) and the impact this has on people’s livelihoods and the communities around them.

There’s also the nostalgia associated with The Body Shop, a name most of us have grown up with and love.

They were the first stores where we could experiment with everything from exotic coconut body butters to strange hemp potions.

Even if you were buying a kiwi-flavored lip balm, you would also implicitly be saving the world. What an advantage.

On the brink: The Body Shop is about to close with a loss of 2,000 in its 200 UK stores

Unfortunately, nostalgia doesn’t translate into sales or profits. To be honest, the news of The Body Shop’s collapse didn’t come as a surprise. In fact, it was more surprising to know that he was still alive.

In recent years, it has been overtaken on the High Street by more exciting rivals such as Rituals and The Ordinary, or more select by Jo Malone.

The truth is that The Body Shop has been fighting for years. The last nail came after bad Christmas operations and an even worse January. Simply put, he was running out of money to pay the bills.

So what went so wrong?

What set The Body Shop apart from when Dame Anita Roddick opened the first store in Brighton in 1976 was that it had a story to tell. And it was a compelling story.

As an ardent environmental and human rights activist, Roddick, along with her husband Gordon, believed that business was a powerful force for doing good and setting high moral standards.

And that’s what it did, making The Body Shop the first company to ban ingredients that had been tested on animals and pioneering “fair trade” with the developing world.

His strident stance, paving the way for ethical consumerism, worked and customers flocked to his stores. Unusually for a retail brand, its magic traveled abroad. In 2004, Roddick had almost 2,000 stores worldwide.

Then came the body blow. Two years later, Roddick sold himself to L’Oréal for £652 million, hoping that his strict values ​​would influence the French cosmetics giant to adopt them too.

According to her friends, she saw herself as a Trojan Horse-type figure, but many followers never forgave her for compromising her principles.

Looking back, The Body Shop never really recovered from the sale, or even Roddick’s death.

With her no longer running the show, the company lost its voice and perhaps its purpose. Just a year later, its founder died tragically young, at 64 years old.

Since then the business has passed through many hands. Neither owner has found a new or original voice.

Just a few weeks ago, private equity firm Aurelius was hoping to find one, paying Brazilian beauty giant Natura £207 million for the opportunity.

Sadly, the disruptor who had shown there was another way to sell cosmetics to women, rather than buying expensive bottles from disfigured-faced beauty assistants in posh department stores, may have caused her own demise.

By opening the market, it paved the way for its rivals, but left The Body Shop behind trying to catch up.

Whats Next? Rescuing the business is going to be complicated. In addition to the UK, there are a further 12,000 employees working in franchises in 3,000 stores in 70 countries around the world.

Anyone who dares to try to get the best out of managers will look to cut costs, sell properties, reduce rents and increase their online presence.

Lord Wolfson of Next, which is becoming something of a magpie with its penchant for acquiring even old brands for its online platform, is said to be interested in some parts of the business.

Hopefully. However, even a brilliant retailer like Wolfson will need more than hippie potions to breathe life back into The Body Shop.

Were the cuts delayed?

Higher-than-expected inflation in the United States may have delayed the next round of interest rate cuts until the summer.

At 3.1 percent, January inflation exceeded forecasts, suggesting the Federal Reserve will wait a little longer before cutting.

Analysts had been expecting six cuts this year, but they were reduced to four.

Today’s inflation figures for the UK are also likely to rise slightly. Hopes for an early rate cut hang by a thread.

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