Body Shop replaces US chief

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The Independent Online
Body Shop has replaced the chief executive of its troubled American operations following the continued underperformance of the business. Steen Kanter is leaving as president and chief executive of Body Shop Inc after just 17 months in the job. He will be replaced by David Edward, chairman of Body Shop Inc and a member of the management team which set up the group's operations in the US 10 years ago.

Mr Kanter was not a main board director and so neither his pay or contract details are disclosed. However, it is expected that he will receive substantial compensation. Body Shop said that Mr Kanter was leaving "to pursue other interests".

The American market has been a continuing problem for Body Shop and the business has been struggling with weak sales and fierce competition in a cut-throat market. In its Christmas trading statement, Body Shop said its sales in America were down 4 per cent on the same period last year. Body Shop has been badly affected by rivals such as Bath & Body Works rolling out new stores at the rate of one a week.

John Richards of NatWest Securities said the culture of Body Shop sometimes made it difficult for outsiders to come in. Mr Kanter joined the group from Lechters, a US homewares company.

- Nigel Cope