The UK arm of The Body Shop is poised to enter administration this week, a development likely to lead to store closures and workforce reductions.
Established in 1976 by the late Dame Anita Roddick, the company’s ownership recently shifted to private equity firm Aurelius.
Despite hopes for a robust performance during the crucial Christmas period and into January, trading fell short of expectations. Additionally, The Body Shop faced challenges with insufficient working capital.
The retailer, with over 200 stores across the UK and its headquarters in London, is expected to undergo significant restructuring overseen by experts.
FRP Advisory, a restructuring specialist, is anticipated to be appointed as administrator shortly.
While The Body Shop’s presence on Britain’s High Streets is unlikely to vanish entirely, the focus will shift towards cost reduction measures, including property and rental expenses, alongside bolstering its online footprint.
Efforts to better compete with brands like Lush, renowned for its bath bombs and popular among younger consumers, are also anticipated.
The Body Shop has undergone multiple ownership changes since Dame Anita’s sale in 2006, causing loyal customers to question the company’s ethical values.
Known for its ethical trading practices and stance against animal testing, The Body Shop experienced significant growth under Dame Anita and her husband Gordon Roddick.
However, concerns arose when the company was sold to L’Oreal in 2006, and subsequent acquisitions by Brazilian beauty giant Natura in 2017 and Aurelius in 2023 further altered its trajectory.
Mark Constantine, co-founder and CEO of Lush, criticized recent changes, citing shifts in manufacturing and profit-focused strategies that deviated from The Body Shop’s core values.
Aurelius, upon acquiring The Body Shop, expressed intentions to rejuvenate the business and leverage its brand name amidst challenges in the retail market.
While The Body Shop’s global operations employ thousands of individuals and operate in numerous countries, recent moves indicate a strategic focus on key markets and digital expansion.
The Body Shop and Aurelius declined to comment on the situation.