NEW YORK — As operating profits soared 19 percent on a 5 percent sales gain for its year-end period, The Body Shop International PLC said its store base will expand by 120 this year while the firm also upgrades existing stores.
For the year-end period, preliminary operating profits for the London-based company came in at 36.2 million pounds, or $66.8 million, on sales of 708.7 million pounds, or $1.31 billion. Comparable-store sales gained 2 percent for the year. Dollar figures are at the average exchange rate.
Adrian Bellamy, executive chairman of the beauty company, said the firm opened 38 new shops last year. The company completed an image upgrade of the total brand, Bellamy explained. He said that based on the success of the upgrade, 120 stores will open this year while 130 existing stores will be upgraded to the new look. The upgrade also includes a new presentation on makeup, which the firm will roll out to all of its 2,045 stores, Bellamy said.
“We’re putting a tremendous amount of effort in makeup right at the moment,” Bellamy said, adding that the “reformulation of makeup will probably take 18 months” to complete.
Regarding The Body Shop At Home, Bellamy said to expect an expansion of this business to additional countries. “Germany is one example, and many others that have potential for the party planning business,” he said. Sales at The Body Shop At Home grew 31 percent for the year to 46.9 million pounds, or $86.6 million.
The e-commerce business, which launched on this side of the Atlantic in September, has been “terribly successful, exceeding expectation,” Bellamy said. The firm will start an e-commerce initiative in the U.K. sometime over the next year.
By region, the firm said expansion plans this year include Russia and Jordan. “We’re just finalizing agreements on that at the moment, and doing some very serious studies on the possibility of opening in China, India, South America, Eastern Europe and in Egypt,” Bellamy said. “The new markets are very important. Some of the developing countries in Asia have responded extremely well to our brand. We expect the big opportunities to be Russia this year, and next year, subject to our research. China, India and South America would be the big, long-term opportunities.”
In the sales report, the firm said the Americas region posted flat comps. In the U.S., same-store sales grew 1 percent.