Once pioneering Body Shop UK collapses into administration

By Thomson Reuters Feb 13, 2024 | 8:00 AM

LONDON (Reuters) -The British arm of the Body Shop has collapsed into administration, putting 2,000 jobs at risk at the one-time pioneering ethical cosmetics retailer.

Founded in Brighton, England in 1976 by late environmentalist and human rights activist Anita Roddick, the Body Shop was famous for promoting natural, ethically-sourced products and rejecting animal testing.

The retailer was one of the most popular on the British high street in the 1980s and 90s, but it has faced greater competition from newcomers in recent years, including from those also touting ethical credentials. It currently trades from 199 UK stores and online.

FRP, the business advisory firm appointed as administrator, said on Tuesday it would continue to trade the Body Shop’s UK operation, while it considered all options to find a way forward for the business.

Going into administration, a form of creditor protection, can lead to a sale of the business or the closure of stores.

The Body Shop 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 1 billion euros.

But after struggling with profitability, Natura in turn sold it on in November last year, to private investor Aurelius Group in a deal valued at 207 million pounds.

“The Body Shop has faced an extended period of financial challenges under past owners, coinciding with a difficult trading environment for the wider retail sector,” said FRP.

(Reporting by James Davey and Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Kate Holton)