City File: Body battered

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The Independent Online
BUY on a loss, or at least, when the worst comes out into the open. Wednesday's figures will reflect all the (organic) muck that has descended on Body Shop in the past few months, including troubles with a big franchisee, an ill-fated film investment, miserable pre-Christmas trading and severe competition from Boots' Natural Collection. The result, according to Body Shop's brokers, NatWest Securities, will be operating profits pounds 3.5m down at pounds 15.4m on virtually unchanged turnover.

Longer term, Body Shop's new products, its international spread (and better profit margins post-devaluation) and the organisational tightening introduced by new managing director Geoff Marshall make the shares good value at 208p.

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