The Indian retail story just got bigger. The Body Shop, the world's leading high-end personal care retailer, is foraying into the country partnering with Planet Sports. Planet Sports, in which Pantaloon Retail holds 49% stake, will be the master franchisee for The Body Shop in India, said informed sources. Planet Sports already represents The Body Shop in a few south-east Asian markets.
It must be mentioned that Planet Sports has brought other brands like Marks & Spencer, Guess and Debenhams to the country though franchising or licensing arrangements.Sources said The Body Shop was likely to hit the top 5-6 Indian metros in the launch phase. It is likely to tap the high-end malls for locating the stores, but may also look at standalone stores in a few cases.
The Body Shop's range covers products and accessories for skin and hair care, make-up, well-being, fragrance and home fragrance segments. The Body Shop, founded by the radical activist Anita Roddick in 1976, evolved from one shop at Brighton in UK, with only 25 hand-mixed products, to a network of 1900 stores in about 50 countries.
It is touted as one of the world's top retail brands with highly visible campai2gns against human rights abuses, in favour of animal and environmental protection and in its challenge to the stereotypes of beauty .
Incidentally, The Body Shop, said sources, could have opted for an equity venture under the Centre's recently unveiled FDI in single-brand retail ventures. But it decided to come in through the franchising route, an arrangement which has facilitated its rapid international expansion in recent times.
Sources said it also indicated that standalone brands still prefer franchising arrangement for their entry strategy before exploring equity options at a later date in their development.