The Body Shop will close almost half of its 198 UK stores, with seven closing immediately, the company’s administrators have announced.
From the stores closing instantly on Tuesday 20 February 2024, four were in London – Surrey Quays, Oxford Street Bond Street, Canary Wharf and Cheapside – with the Nuneaton, Ashford Town Centre and Bristol Queens Road sites also shut up shop.
The closures follow FRP’s review of the retailer, finding that “the current store portfolio mix is no longer viable”. It stressed that the reduced store footprint would 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”.
Additionally, FRP announced that 40% of head office roles would go, to around 400 full-time staff. The Body Shop’s Ambassador programme will also be scrapped as part of the restructuring.
It comes after The Body Shop collapsed into administration on 13 February 2024 due to “an extended period of financial challenges under past owners, coinciding with a difficult trading environment for the wider retail sector”.
Ethical property solutions firm ASTOP has responded to the news, director Shaylesh Patel, said: “Consumers will feel a sense of déjà vu at seeing The Body Shop, yet another household name, fall victim to the ever-decreasing appetite for high street shopping. Indeed, many high streets now imitate a roulette with only coffee shops, nail bars, and barbers to choose from.
“As is always the case with the now unerringly common closure of well-known stores, the well-being of both staff and of the taxpayer must take priority. An often-forgotten facet of these stories is that a rise in the number of empty stores brings with it the increased likelihood of business rates avoidance practices. It is incumbent on both the government and the administrators to create a clear timeline which ensures that properties do not sit empty for too long. Otherwise, these temporarily empty space should be used in a way that will benefit local communities.”
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