New store format helps boost The Body Shop’s profits

The Body Shop says its decision to roll out its new ‘Pulse’ store format across its store estate and good Christmas trading around its ‘Give Joy’ marketing activity helped boost profits last year.

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The beauty retailer, which is owned by L’Oreal, saw pre-tax profits rise to £57m for the year to 28 December 2013, from £51.1m in 2012. Sales were up by 1 per cent to £435.7m.

The Body Shop introduced its Pulse format in 2012, rolling it out to 800 stores across the UK and internationally in 2013. The format is aimed at giving The Body Shop stores a “fresh and vibrant boutique look” and offers areas for product demonstrations.

Jeremy Schwartz, chief executive at The Body Shop, says the format led to an improvement in “performance, footfall and sales”. It plans to continue the roll-out through 2014 while also developing the format after listening to customer comments as it looks to improve the in-store experience.

The Body Shop also credited its Christmas marketing activity for the improved performance. Schwartz says the multichannel Give Joy strategy, which donates money to build schools in countries such as India and Nepal, delivered “sustained growth” in ecommerce, particularly in the UK and the US.

The Body Shop now has 292 stores in the UK and 3,044 globally, having opened more than 200 new stores last year. It is now focused in particular on expanding its Brazilian business having bought a 51 per cent stake in the Emporio Body Store in the country at the end of last year.

Schwartz says The Body Shop will focus on launching more innovative products in 2014 to boost growth by seeking out “natural, effective ingredients from all four corners of the globe”. It claims innovations such as its “Honeymania” bodycare range, which uses honey from Ethiopia, helped drive sales of its body, skincare and makeup categories.

“While we continue to be confronted by challenges in some markets our strategy for 2014 will ensure that our customers remain at the heart of all our business decisions.

“Through an unwavering and consistent implementation of its strategy, putting a focus on generating more innovative products and trailblazing values activities to appeal to an increasingly demanding ethical audience, The Body Shop is condiment in its ability to resist the continued tough economic climate and to open the way to achieving sustainable growth worldwide,” says Schwartz.