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Net and Sales Gain for Year at Body Shop

LONDON -- Body Shop International PLC has reported after-tax profits increased 41 percent to $29.4 million (19.6 million pounds) at current exchange rates for the year ended Feb. 28.<BR><BR>The results, disclosed Thursday, reflect strong growth in the...

LONDON — Body Shop International PLC has reported after-tax profits increased 41 percent to $29.4 million (19.6 million pounds) at current exchange rates for the year ended Feb. 28.

The results, disclosed Thursday, reflect strong growth in the U.S., where Body Shop opened 50 stores last year to bring the total to 170, and a turnaround in the U.K.

The latest income figure compares with after-tax profits of 13.9 million pounds the previous year. Sales rose 16.1 percent, to $293.1 million (195.4 million pounds) from 168.3 million pounds.

In the U.S., operating profits rose 195 percent, to $9.3 million (6.2 million pounds) from 2.1 million pounds on a 33.3 percent increase in sales to $75.6 million (50.4 million pounds) from 37.8 million pounds.

Gordon Roddick, Body Shop chairman, said sales at comparable stores in the U.S. rose 7 percent. Body Shop expects to open 60 stores in the U.S. this year.

In the U.K., operating profits rose 1.8 percent, to $17.1 million (11.4 million pounds) on a 9.1 percent increase in sales to $136.65 million (91.1 million pounds).

In the previous year, operating profits were 11.2 million pounds on sales of 83.5 million pounds. Comparable-store sales in the U.K. were flat last year after a 6 percent drop in the previous year. Gross margins were up 0.5 percent.