OPERATIONAL REVIEW

Carol Poolton Carol Poolton
General manager
The Body Shop is a global brand of naturally-inspired luxury toiletries, cosmetics, gifting and grooming. Founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick in 1976, The Body Shop has become one of the most recognisable brands in the world. New Clicks operates The Body Shop in southern Africa under an exclusive licence agreement and serves mainly female consumers in the upper and middle income markets.

Review of the year

The strong sales performance in The Body Shop was driven by continued product innovation, the Love Your Body loyalty programme and new store openings. The South African business was recognised for its sales performance at this year’s annual franchise conference of The Body Shop International.

Following a buoyant Christmas trading period growth slowed in the second half in line with general retail trends.

Gifting sales increased by 38% through distinctive Christmas and Mother’s Day gifting ranges, while new product launches lifted bath and body sales by 22%. Skincare merchandise grew by 24%.

The Love Your Body loyalty programme continues to support growth, with membership exceeding 50 000 and accounting for almost 35% of sales. The average basket size of loyalty card holders continues to be more than 50% higher than non-card holders.

The store base was increased to 35 with the opening of new stores in Eastgate and Gateway, with both stores showing strong sales performance.

Ongoing customer service training remains a key focus while the in-store experience has been enhanced through more appealing merchandising, greater stock depth and improved visual elements.

Supply problems resulting from changes in the manufacturing base of The Body Shop International impacted product availability locally. These distribution challenges were resolved in the second half of the year and targeted availability levels will be restored in time for the Christmas trading period.

Focus for 2009

The Body Shop is being relaunched internationally with the new brand philosophy of “Nature’s way to beautiful”. This will see the brand adopt a more premium positioning while retaining the heritage of natural, ethically-sourced products. The brand relaunch is being supported by innovative new product.

Love Your Body remains core to the brand’s strategy of rewarding loyal customers and the programme will be enhanced in the upcoming year. Three new stores are planned for the 2009 financial year and a strong pipeline of new products will support sales growth.