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The Body Shop administration: “Sorry reminder of difficulties retailers face”


On Tuesday [13 February 2024], the UK arm of The Body Shop collapsed into administration putting 2,000 jobs at risk.

FRP, the business advisory firm appointed as administrator, stressed the Body Shop’s 199 UK stores and online service would continue to trade. This would give it time to consider “all options to find a way forward for the business”.

The natural beauty and skin care company has “faced an extended period of financial challenges under past owners, coinciding with a difficult trading environment for the wider retail sector,” according to FRP.

The Bristol-founded business has changed ownership several times over the past few years. It was bought by L’Oreal in 2006, before changing hands again in 2017 when the French cosmetics giant sold it to Brazilian cosmetics maker Natura&Co for €1bn.

Last November, Natura sold it to private investor Aurelius Group in a deal valued at £207mn after struggling financially.

“The Body Shop saw a steep fall in turnover in 2022, from £487mn to £408mn, and a slow Christmas trading period was the final nail in the coffin,” explained Russell Pointon, director of consumer at Edison Group.

“The Body Shop has faced a significant increase in competition so that ethical beauty products are more readily available elsewhere now, and the widely chronicled challenges facing the high street have played their part, as seen in the steady stream of store closures affecting companies such as Boots, HMV and Sports Direct. The restructuring and slim lining of The Body Shop will likely yield a different creature, but one that may be better suited to the current retail environment.

“The potential disappearance of an almost 50-year-old high street staple is a sorry reminder of the difficulties currently facing retailers and increasing competitive pressures. Now will come a painful cost-cutting exercise that will surely extend the brand’s shelf life but likely come at the expense of a sizeable number of the company’s 2,000-strong UK workforce.”

Charity the Retail Trust has encouraged anyone who needs advice following the news to get in touch on 0808 801 0808.

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