The prospect of founders Anita and Gordon Roddick and Ian McGlinn getting into bed with one of the world's biggest cosmetics companies is extraordinary.
But whatever anyone claims, Body Shop has changed and moved closer to the corporate animals that Anita Roddick often claimed to detest. It has a fantastic brand with a presence across the globe, but they might just feel they've taken it as far as they can, particularly in the UK.
However, L'Oréal would be an extraordinary buyer. Time and again, Anita Roddick has voiced her distaste for the cosmetics industry - it would be an extraordinary volte-face to sell out to one of its biggest beasts. Then again, having a big cheque dangled in front of you can often do funny things to people.
The deal doesn't make much sense from L'Oréal's side either. Major manufacturers don't make natural retailers, not least because it strains relationships with their other big retail customers.
In addition, ownership by L'Oréal would almost inevitably dilute Body Shop's ethical point of difference with customers. After all, if Body Shop is part of yet another global conglomerate, why not go to Boots or Superdrug instead?
There is a precedent. There was much head-scratching when Estée Lauder took over niche cosmetics brand MAC. That too was miles from its core business, yet MAC continues to flourish. It might just be that L'Oréal wants to spread its risks too and that it sees ethical cosmetics as the way of the future.
The planned sale of Kwik Save by Somerfield will come to no surprise to anyone in the supermarket world. What remains of Kwik Save is a mess - stores that have received no investment for many years, in some of the worst locations imaginable. All the half-decent ones were converted to the Somerfield facia long ago.
Even in the current frenzy for foodstores, the only people who will get excited about the portfolio will be the hard discounters, Netto, Lidl and Aldi. They're all hungry to grow in the UK and this is just the type of package they want to get their teeth into.
No comments yet