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The Body Shop forced to shut nearly half of its UK stores

The Body Shop forced to shut nearly half of its UK stores
Matt Browning
Written By:
Matt Browning

The Body Shop will permanently shut nearly half of its 198 stores in the UK, with the loss of hundreds of jobs to follow.

The retailer will cut around 40% of its head office roles, meaning just over 400 employees will keep their roles at that level.

Seven stores will close their doors for the final time on Tuesday, in a move that the retailers’ administrators hope will bring a “renewed focus to the brands’ products.”

The first stores of the cosmetic company to shut for good include four locations in London and one each in Bristol, Kent, and Warwickshire.

The seven stores to shut are:

  • Ashford Town Centre, Kent
  • Bristol Queens Road, Bristol
  • Canary Wharf, London
  • Cheapside, London
  • Nuneaton, Warwickshire
  • Oxford Street-Bond Street, London
  • Surrey Quays, London

In total, the beauty company employs over 2,000 staff, but job losses have been on the cards since administrators were tasked earlier this month to save the company.

‘Years of unprofitability’ mean number of stores is not viable

The administrators FRP announced the news in a statement that said “years of unprofitability” led the company to its current state.

FRP said: “Following a full evaluation of The Body Shop’s UK business, the joint administrators have concluded that the current store portfolio mix is no longer viable.

“As an immediate step, seven stores will close today, with additional closures to follow. It is expected that at the conclusion of the restructuring, more than half of The Body Shop’s 198 UK stores will remain open.”

It added: “A reduced store footprint will coincide with a renewed focus on the brand’s products, online sales channels, and wholesale strategies, bringing the brand in line with industry peers and supporting a return to financial stability.”

‘Reduced store footprint’ could lead to financial stability

The beauty company, founded in 1976, has struggled in recent years, and earlier this month was forced to sell parts of the European and Asian arms of the business.

FRP added: “Following the earlier sale of loss-making businesses in much of mainland Europe and parts of Asia, and to support a simplified business, The Body Shop will also restructure roles in its head office to align with this forward-looking strategy and more nimble, financially viable model.”

“This swift action will help re-energise The Body Shop’s iconic brand and provide it with the best platform to achieve its ambition to be a modern, dynamic beauty brand that is able to return to profitability and compete for the long term.”