March 17, 2006
L'Oreal to Buy Body Shop
Posted by Christine Hurt

Bodyshop The French cosmetics powerhouse L'Oreal has agreed to acquire Body Shop for $1.15B and perhaps break into the retail business.  So, how does one reconcile the branding of "Because I'm Worth It" L'Oreal and crunchy granola Body Shop?  The short answer is that although the Body Shop caused a stir by being one of the first companies not to do animal testing, to sell you products in returnable, reusable containers, and to make products in developing countries paying developed wages, Body Shop founder Anita Roddick realized once the UK company went public that shareholders aren't really that interested in using a business model as a model for social change.  (BBC article here.)  So, certain parts of Body Shop that increase profits by attracting customers can stay, but other aspects that decreased the bottom line were out.  And now, Body Shop is being bought by L'Oreal.  Will Heather Locklear start hawking Mango Body Butter and the footsie roller?

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