The Body Shop International: US Operations

Essay by lingt April 2004

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Question 1

Anita Roddick and the Body Shop

In 1976, Anita Roddick opened her first Body Shop store in Brighton, England, with £4000 in borrowed funds from a bank. She began by selling a small range of skin and hair care products made from natural ingredients (Roddick, 1991, pp. 19, 76).

In the beginning, Roddick did not possess the skills necessary to run a large organization. This can be seen when the Body Shop International (BST), at first, had no business plan and no job descriptions. As a result of this, when the company expanded, it became difficult to retain managers who sought to run the organization more professionally (Hill and Jones, 2004, p. C178). Roddick thought that financial are not unimportant, but to concentrate only on them, in her view, was a "dumb" thing to do (Hill and Jones 2004, p. C179).

The company's troubles in the U.S.

market highlighted top management's lack of retail and marketing know - how (Hill and Jones, 2004, p. C186). Wheelen and Hunger (2000, p. 26 - 9) said that unsuccessful managers, too many product lines, copycat rivals who discount, and too few products created specifically for the U.S. consumer were of the biggest problems. Besides that, many of the U.S. stores were located in expensive major cities that led to high real estate costs. Due to lack of advertising, the turnover in the Body Shop U.S. leadership and low brand recognition contributed to the problem as well (Wheelen and Hunger, 2000, p. 26 - 9).

Another situation where Roddick showed that she did not possess the skills needed to run a large organization was when the BST's rapid expansion began to create difficulties. Instead of patiently learning the unique characteristics of the U.S. market and perfecting sales in its...