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The Body Shop on brink of collapse

The Body Shop on brink of collapse
Emma Lunn
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Emma Lunn

The skincare and cosmetics retailer founded by Anita Roddick in 1976 is set to appoint administrators in the UK.

The Body Shop was bought by Aurelius in December in a deal that valued the retailer at £207m. But the private equity firm is expected to appoint expert FRP Advisory to significantly restructure the business, resulting in shop closures and job losses.

The news comes after it emerged that Aurelius had sold parts of the beauty retailer’s Europe and Asia business last week.

The Body Shop signed an agreement with “an international family office to sell its business in most of mainland Europe and in parts of Asia” as it moves towards “delivering a strong turnaround strategy”.

The retailer began life as a small shop in Brighton. Roddick’s vision was based on an ethical approach to business, with its products not tested on animals. In a controversial move, she sold the business to L’Oréal in 2006, and it has changed hands twice more since then. In 2021, it was named by HMRC alongside a number of other companies for paying workers less than the minimum wage.

It is understood that The Body Shop has insufficient working capital and that trading over the key Christmas period and in January was not as strong as hoped.

The company has more than 200 shops in the UK and a headquarters in London. Experts say it is unlikely that The Body Shop brand will completely disappear from the UK, but there will be a focus on reducing its costs, including on property and rents, as well as building up its online presence.