Dame Anita hopes to boost community trade at cosmetics giant
It is almost 30 years to the day since the first Body Shop store opened in Brighton. And while some accuse founder Anita Roddick of having lost sight of the core principles of the business, today she was doing all she could to show them off as she defended the£650 million sale of the retailer to L'Oréal.

Her efforts were not entirely successful. After all, this is the original ethical retailer selling out to a company that, it is claimed, still tests on animals. But Roddick, who founded the business with her husband Gordon, thinks she can change L'Oréal from within in her new role as an adviser to the company.

'The most exciting thing about this is being able to teach L'Oréal about community trade,' claimed Roddick, although the enormous cheque she will be trousering probably won't be far behind.

However, the challenge will be to reassure staff and shoppers that L'Oréal is going to keep The Body Shop intact. 'The assumption that I am sitting next to the big bad wolf is totally wrong,' she insisted

L'Oréal's chairman and chief executive, the surprisingly English Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, has clearly fallen in love with Roddick. 'It took real genius to create this brand,' he gushed.

But is the feeling reciprocated? 'The French are the most seductive people in the world,' said Dame Anita. The question is whether those who love The Body Shop can be seduced too.