A new beginning in sight for The Body Shop as L’Oreal receives a firm offer from Natura Cosmeticos


With cosmetics giant L’Oreal now in “exclusive” talks with Natura Cosmeticos, this ethical Brazilian company could be the next home for The Body Shop.

According to L’Oreal the proposed transaction value is set at €1 billion, and the deal is set to be finalised by the end of the year, subject to regulatory approval in Brazil and the US.

For Natura, the prospect of acquiring such an established retail player, operating with the same values with regards to responsibility, ethics, and a focus on natural products represents a significant opportunity. According to The Guardian, its combined net sales with The Body Shop would be in the region of €3 billion.

For Natura, which has a direct selling model in place for many of its products, the acquisition will certainly boost the company’s global presence. Currently, the company is present in seven countries with its Natura brand, and 14 with its Aesop brand. In comparison, The Body Shop has outlets in over 60 countries worldwide offering a significant benefit in distribution and giving Natura Cosmeticos a truly global reach.

Nevertheless, the benefits of this transaction are not solely confined to the buyer.

Being the parent company of premium natural brand Aesop which is offered in standalone retail stores, Natura is already well-versed in the innovation required to make a success of brand-cum-retailers.

Looking at Natura’s Aesop brand, there is clear continuity of the brand across its entire portfolio in terms of messaging and packaging as well as a pared back offering which is easy-to-understand and identify with. This also assists in promoting its sleek, premium positioning.

Since being sold to L’Oreal in 2006, The Body Shop has operated under a company which specialises in brands rather than retailers. In turn Natura’s expertise could stand The Body Shop in good stead to rejuvenate and refresh its image, retail experience, and offerings which have struggled to become embedded in consumers’ daily beauty and personal care regimens. Similarly the multitude of ranges and products available from the brand, while delivering on novelty, have also served to reduce clarity on the brand ethos and meaning.

The benefits of natural products are becoming more and more established across the global stage, with three in five consumers globally saying that they are interested in and already buying natural beauty and grooming products according to GlobalData’s Q4 2016 consumer survey.

While this highlights the potential of this space, it is also serving to create an even more challenging environment for “green” players such as The Body Shop. Nevertheless its acquisition by Natura could be a significant step in redefining its core values and becoming a more dynamic, responsive brand with products firmly embedded into consumers’ daily beauty and personal care regimes.