The Body Shop UK is plunged into administration with troubled ethical beauty chain’s 200 stores now at risk: Owners Aurelius take drastic action to cut costs in bid to take on the likes of Lush after brand suffered poor Christmas sales
The Body Shop has entered administration with jobs at risk in the brand’s more than 200 UK stores.
The much-loved chain currently employs 10,000 people across 3,000 stores it operates in more than 70 countries around the world – with a further 12,000 staff working in franchises.
FRP Advisory was brought in to handle the insolvency process just weeks after a new owner took over, promising to ‘reboot the business’. The administration currently only affects UK staff and stores.
In a statement, it said ‘administrators will now consider all options to find a way forward for the business and will update creditors and employees in due course’.
The business will continue to trade both in-store and online while plans are made for the future of the much-loved high street brand.
The Body Shop has started the process of applying for administration with job losses a risk
The Body Shop, the almost 50-year-old cosmetics company known for its ethical hair and skin products, is struggling financially in the UK
The Body Shop was sold by founder Dame Anita Roddick to L’Oreal in 2006 for £675 million.
The struggling chain – which has faced stiff competition from the likes of millennial and Gen Z-friendly bath bomb purveyors Lush and luxury brand Rituals – has also just closed its Avon-style home business division, The Body Shop At Home.
FRP said: ‘The Body Shop faced a long period of financial challenges under previous owners, which coincided with a difficult trading environment for the wider retail sector.
“After taking swift action over the past month, including the closure of The Body Shop At Home and the sale of its business across most of Europe and parts of Asia, focusing on the UK business is the next important step in The Body Shop’s restructuring.’
The administrators added: ‘The Body Shop remains guided by its ambition to be a modern, dynamic beauty brand, relevant to customers and able to compete for the long term.
‘Creating a more agile and financially stable UK business is an important step towards achieving this.’
As well as threatening thousands of jobs, the news could cause problems for the many suppliers of Body Shop goods around the world, which have been carefully sourced by the ethical firm over decades.
While administration does not necessarily mean the end of the British brand, social media is full of reaction from those who fear the worst for the beleaguered firm.
One former worker recalled on X, formerly Twitter: ‘Sad news about The Body Shop. Still one of my favorite jobs ever when I was a student was working Oxford St & Kings Rd at weekends in the late 90’s.
‘Met amazing people (cool celebs too) and fell in love with skincare and makeup.’
Another said simply: ‘The body shop is closing it’s the worst day of my life’; one Londoner wrote: ‘If the body shop goes in the center (Centre Court Shopping Center in Wimbledon) I’ll actually cry.’
Founded in 1976 by the late Dame Anita Roddick, the company has become known for its no-nonsense ethical trading ethos and refusal to test products on animals.
Popular products that helped establish the brand’s name include bath bombs, White Musk fragrance and hemp hand cream.
However, in recent years it has seen its popularity with shoppers decline in the UK due to the rise of rivals Lush and Holland and Barrett, and a growing online market of cheaper alternatives.
The firm also fell out of favor with some buyers after it was sold by Dame Anita to L’Oreal for £675m in 2006 – a move that stunned many who saw the sale to a major corporation as antithetical to the company s values.
Since then, The Body Shop has changed hands several times, before being bought by private equity firm Aurelius for £207m just weeks ago.
Following the purchase of the brand, Aurelius said that ‘despite the challenging retail market, there is an opportunity to re-energize the business to enable it to take advantage of positive trends in the high-growth beauty market. .’
It has since emerged that the business has insufficient working capital and has suffered from poor Christmas trading.
In January, the Body Shop claimed that most of its business stems from mainland Europe and Asia – and has since sold those businesses to an unnamed investor.
It told Retail Week in January that the move ‘further prioritizes the Body Shop’s strategically important markets and global franchise partner relationships, which it will look for opportunities to build.
‘The Body Shop will also focus on reaching customers more effectively by strengthening digital platforms, developing new sales channels and using differentiated retail experiences.’
MailOnline has approached The Body Shop and Aurelius for comment.