The Body Shop International: Us Operations

2448 words - 10 pages

Question 1Anita Roddick and the Body ShopIn 1976, Anita Roddick opened her first Body Shop store in Brighton, England, with £4000 in borrowed funds from a bank. She began by selling a small range of skin and hair care products made from natural ingredients (Roddick, 1991, pp. 19, 76).In the beginning, Roddick did not possess the skills necessary to run a large organization. This can be seen when the Body Shop International (BST), at first, had no business plan and no job descriptions. As a result of this, when the company expanded, it became difficult to retain managers who sought to run the organization more professionally (Hill and Jones, 2004, p. C178). Roddick thought that financial are not unimportant, but to concentrate only on them, in her view, was a "dumb" thing to do (Hill and Jones 2004, p. C179).The company's troubles in the U.S. market highlighted top management's lack of retail and marketing know - how (Hill and Jones, 2004, p. C186). Wheelen and Hunger (2000, p. 26 - 9) said that unsuccessful managers, too many product lines, copycat rivals who discount, and too few products created specifically for the U.S. consumer were of the biggest problems. Besides that, many of the U.S. stores were located in expensive major cities that led to high real estate costs. Due to lack of advertising, the turnover in the Body Shop U.S. leadership and low brand recognition contributed to the problem as well (Wheelen and Hunger, 2000, p. 26 - 9).Another situation where Roddick showed that she did not possess the skills needed to run a large organization was when the BST's rapid expansion began to create difficulties. Instead of patiently learning the unique characteristics of the U.S. market and perfecting sales in its existing shops, the company charged into the top malls, to which it was not accustomed to, in hopes of beating its competitors. Moreover, Roddick's relationship with franchisees began to deteriorate because some of them did not share her enthusiasm about certain causes. Others were unhappy about having to pay the 60,000 pounds purchase fee - something that their counterparts in the United Kingdom were exempted from. Also, as the company expanded, its communication with its franchisees worsened (Hill and Jones 2004, pp. C180 - C181).But in 1995, the BST retained a management consulting firm to undertake an appraisal of its structure, objectives, and methods o decision making and problem solving (Hill and Jones 2004, p. C179). This shows that Roddick was learning from her mistakes and requiring the skills needed to run a large organization.In 1997, when the BST products were regularly accused of being "tired" and "lacking innovation", the BST placed high priority on rationalizing the product range. The goal was to refocus on core lines and values, communicate effectively with consumers, and create new products that were young funk, energizing, and marketed efficiently. Complaints of cluttered, dark, uninviting shops also led the...

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