From Ethical Beauty Icon to Bankruptcy

In the bustling world of cosmetics, The Body Shop stood as a beacon of ethical beauty, founded in 1976 by the indomitable Anita Roddick with just $5.000 in hand. From its humble beginnings in Brighton, UK, it burgeoned into a global phenomenon, valued at $102 million by 1992, ahead of its time in advocating for environmental and social causes.

But as the years rolled by, the winds of change swept over The Body Shop. In 2006, Roddick sold her beloved brand to cosmetics behemoth L’Oréal for a staggering $1 billion, sparking a backlash from loyal customers who felt betrayed by the marriage of ethics and commerce.

The Body Shop’s fortunes began to wane. Its once-staunch supporters turned away, disillusioned by the brand’s values and its corporate parent. By 2017, L’Oréal washed its hands of the struggling brand, passing it on to Brazil’s Natura in another billion-dollar deal.

However, Natura’s acquisition failed to stem the rot. In 2023, amidst rapid depreciation and underperformance, Natura sold The Body Shop to Aurelius for a mere fraction of its former glory, a paltry $266 million. In just seven years, the once-proud icon had changed hands thrice, a poignant symbol of its fall from grace.

The reasons for The Body Shop’s demise were manifold. Growing competition in the cosmetics industry, once dominated by The Body Shop’s ethical ethos, now crowded with brands boasting better branding and marketing strategies, eroded its market share. The rise of online shopping further compounded its struggles, rendering its vast network of 2,500 brick-and-mortar stores at its peak increasingly unsustainable.

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