Interior of a Body Shop store.
Image courtesy of The Body Shop.

We are all talking about ‘what went wrong with the Body Shop?’ but perhaps we should be asking ‘how did it survive for so long?’. When Anita Roddick started The Body Shop in Brighton in 1976, the idea of ethical products and sustainability was truly new and revolutionary in the retail and especially the beauty sector. But that is no longer the case and if anything, ethical and sustainable is the base level when considering purchase, especially for Gen Z. Boots and supermarket chains offer a large range of cheap natural and sustainable products.

There also lies another issue for The Body Shop. It was loved by teens in the 1970s and 1980s for its White Musk and Dewberry scents, but these are now the perfumes of another generation and the young of today have moved on. Meanwhile The Body Shop has been through several owners since The Roddicks first sold it to L’Oréal and none of them have had the vision of its founder or were really able to turn it into a brand for the 21st century. There is more competition, more variety and greater use of modern marketing techniques such as influencers that The Body Shop never got to grips with.