Body Central Acquisition likely has something in store for young women who feel that image is everything. The company offers trendy apparel and accessories to women in their late teens and early 20s through about 200 Body Central and Body Shop retail stores. Located in malls in 23 southern, midwestern, and mid-Atlantic states, its stores carry dresses, tops, jewelry, and shoes sold under its Body Central and Lipstick brands. It also sells its merchandise through catalogs and its e-commerce website. A holding company, Body Central operates primarily through its Body Shop of America (not affiliated with The Body Shop) and Catalogue Ventures subsidiaries. Body Central went public in late 2010.
The company intends to use the proceeds that it raises in its public offering (nearly $38 million) to repay debt and fund general corporate activity. Such activity would include increasing its store locations by 30 in 2010; growing its catalog and e-commerce businesses; and bolstering its sales and marketing activities.
A key part of its sales and marketing strategy includes increasing the presence of its Body Central and Lipstick brands in its core markets through advertising initiatives. The company typically does not use traditional advertising channels like print media and television; instead, it opts to reach its young adult demographic through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The company is also moving away from using the Body Shop brand name, in part, because its subsidiary, Body Shop of America, had sold the exclusive rights to the trademarked "Body Shop" name to beauty and cosmetic retailer The Body Shop years earlier in 1991. Acquired by WestView Capital Partners and PineBridge Investments in 2006, Body Shop of America had been previously privately-owned by its founder Jerrold S. Rosenbaum (who formed the company in 1972) and his family. Following the acquisition, WestView and PineBridge organized Body Shop of America's assets under the Body Central banner (Body Central had no operations prior to the acquisition).
Still involved in his former company, Rosenbaum currently leases executive office, warehouse, and distribution space to Body Central through Powers Avenue Joint Venture, a company in which he owns a majority interest. Additionally, Rosenbaum continued to hold a 17% ownership stake in Body Central before the 2010 IPO filing. WestView and PineBridge Investments also continued to hold major stakes in the company, with WestView holding a 31% stake and PineBridge holding a 29% stake prior to the filing.
Body Central has seen mixed financial results in the years since the acquisition. After a drop in profits in 2007, the company rebounded two years later and saw its profits rise into positive territory. It attributes its recent upswing in profits, in part, to a change in its merchandising strategy, which involved moving away from carrying a large inventory of basic fashions to carrying a small revolving inventory of trend-driven fashions. It believes this strategy allows it to respond better to current fashions and consumer demand and maintain smaller, more cost-effective inventories. – less