The Body Shop has put Linda Campbell at the head of its UK operations. What opportunities and challenges will the beauty specialist face?

Some women obsess about the latest lipstick colour or new revolutionary skin serum. The Body Shop’s new boss Linda Campbell however, has made a career out of her passion for beauty.

Campbell’s working life has been dominated by the health and beauty sector. Her first job in retail was at House of Fraser’s Estée Lauder concession, and since then she says she has “never looked back.”

Campbell’s promotion, combined with her knowledge and experience in the health and beauty industry, makes her one of the most influential women in the sector

Stints at luxury cosmetics brands including Laura Mercier and Space NK followed, before a brief sojourn in the grocery sector when she joined upmarket supermarket Planet Organic in 2010.

However, it wasn’t long before she returned back to the sector she loves when The Body Shop poached her in 2014 to become its UK retail director – a role she has held until this month when she was promoted to the helm of the retailer’s UK operation following Simon Coble’s departure.

Linda Campbell

Linda Campbell

Linda Campbell has been appointed The Body Shop’s new boss

Described by an industry insider as “an incredibly capable, grounded and approachable retail operator with a good beauty background”, Campbell says she has been “drawn to The Body Shop” since “her early memories of shopping for beauty products.”

Beauty power players

Campbell’s promotion, combined with her knowledge and experience in the health and beauty industry, makes her one of the most influential women in the sector.

However, Campbell has some strong female role models to look up to. She describes The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick and Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird as her retail inspirations.

Can Campbell make her own name as iconic in her new role at The Body Shop?

Retail Week Prospect analyst Rebecca Marks believes her greatest challenge will be making The Body Shop’s UK business stand out from its myriad competitors.

“While The Body Shop once held a USP for its ethical skincare and cosmetics, its market share has been dented by the rise in competition from Holland & Barrett, Lush, and even discounting health and beauty retailer Superdrug through its B. range of skincare,” she says.

Can Campbell make her own name as iconic in her new role at The Body Shop?

And with department store retailers including Debenhams and John Lewis, and fashion retailer New Look upping their health and beauty credentials, the market has never been more crowded.

Trendsetter

Campbell says she was drawn to the health and beauty sector because of its “fast pace in innovation and trends”, and Verdict analyst Charlotte Pearce thinks that investing in a more fashion-led range should be a key priority for The Body Shop.

“The business has a strong heritage in making products ethically, but the challenge now is changing its brand perception to a business that is also on trend and reactive in its make-up products,” she says.

Offering popular products like contouring kits, tying up with social influencers and leveraging its social media presence could all be good places for Campbell to start when shifting the brand perception of The Body Shop.

However, Campbell stresses that continuing to drive forward the business’ multichannel offer is also top of her to-do list.

Campbell says the part of her new role she is most looking forward to is “continuing to build on the success of the last four years through developing the shopping experience for our customers to create more fun and theatre in store, and working with our digital team to continue growing a brilliant ecommerce offer”.

All of that should keep Campbell busy, however, she will still strive to make time for her favourite pastime, which is of course health related. Campbell spends her weekends cycling with her husband, son and two dogs.

The beauty retailer will hope Campbell can ride to success and give The Body Shop a makeover that helps it stand out from its rivals.