In the next five years, The Body Shop will increase its store presence in India from the existing five to about 100 outlets. But its founder Anita Roddick finds India more interesting for its traditional cosmetic wisdom, than its prospects as a market. She would rather spend time connecting the global cosmetic cosmos to the botanical gardens of India than promote her products.
Roddick opened her first store in Brighton, UK in 1976 and now has over 1900 stores, and a huge reputation worldwide. But her concerns have moved on, well beyond commerce. Speaking to Hindustan Times, she said: “If brands like L’Oreal have started thinking in terms of being soulful or reflective in the way they do business, it’s a good beginning. It proves there is no contradiction between selling products that are humanized and making commercial sense.”
In her philanthrophist avatar, Roddick is working with L’Oreal to help them purchase harvesting ingredients - that go into the making of cosmetics - from farmers or women's co-operatives. She feels this can make a big difference. “If L’Oreal shows the imagination and the courage to do it with even the most basic stuff like Aloe or honey, others in the industry will have to follow suit,” she said.
But obviously the Executive Director of Body Shop, is also impressed by the size of the Indian market and the business transacted in stores selling women's products across the country. "This market is bigger than all of Western Europe put together,” said Roddick.In order to tap into this big market, Body Shop has roped in Planet Retail Holdings as a franchisee. This company which is into specialty retail, plans to expand the Body Shop network to places like Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore in addition to increasing its presence in Mumbai and Delhi.
“We will be investing Rs 50 crore into setting up about 50 more Body Shop outlets in the next three years, taking the number to 100 in five years,” said Planet Retail Holdings Managing Director Arun Bhardwaj.