Facelift planned for Body Shop

Body Shop, the high street cosmetics retailer under pressure from a new competitor, Bath & Body Works, is to redesign its stores to give them a fresher look.

Anita Roddick's group, which has 243 shops in Britain, plans to change the signage on the front of the stores, although they will retain their trademark green colour and graphics. Lighting and signage inside will also be improved.

Commenting on the changes, a spokesman for the retailer said: "The look of the stores hasn't changed that much during 18 months of trading. We felt it was time to take a look at it."

A handful of stores have already been updated, but the programme will be extended across the group.

Body Shop denies it is making the changes in response to head-on competition from Bath & Body Works, the joint venture between Next and the American niche retailer, The Limited.

Bath and Body Works opened the first of its five British stores in October, but plans a chain of 200 if the trial is successful.

When the first shops opened - the new Derby store is right next door to a branch of Body Shop - some industry experts said the brighter stores of the newcomer made the Body Shop look dark and old fashioned.

"We were working on our redesign a long time ago," a spokesman for Body Shop claims.

However, the Derby outlet of Body Shop was one of the first to receive a facelift.

Body Shop also announced a Christmas trading statement yesterday which showed that sales in Britain had performed well with turnover up 5 per cent on the same period last year.

The picture in the United States, where Body Shop has 235 stores, was less rosy, with sales falling slightly.

Body Shop says it is still working on its social audit, a review of how it treats its staff, suppliers and customers, and will publish the report later this year.