The wind might have changed direction for UK-based The Body Shop with the natural beauty company reporting first half figures for 2003 that showed profit before tax rose to £9.1 million, compared to a loss of £0.7 million for the same period last year.
Sales in the UK were weak but a stronger performance in he USA, theMiddle East, the Nordic countries, Hong Kong, Taiwan and most parts of South East Asia helped boost performance.
"We have achieved solid progress in the past six months towards our goal of improved execution as reflected in the results for the 26 weeks to 30 August 2003," said Peter Saunders, CEO of the company.
Worldwide retail sales remined flat at £306.1 million and comparable store sales were down 3 per cent. However operating profit reached £10.1 million, up 140 per cent from £4.2 million for the same period in 2002.
"There have been ongoing improvements in new product development, marketing and supplychain. Cash generation has been very good and interest charges are significantly lower," continued Saunders. Despite being optimistic for the full year, Saunders was still cautious. "The critical Christmas trading season is ahead of us. We are well prepared but there remain pockets of weakness in many economies and in some of our operations," he warned.