Home » Up to 250 Body Shop stores could close across UK with thousands thrown out of work as well-loved High Street chain’s new owners call in the administrators

Up to 250 Body Shop stores could close across UK with thousands thrown out of work as well-loved High Street chain’s new owners call in the administrators

Up to 250 Body Shop stores could close across the country with thousands of jobs at risk as the chain’s new owners call in the administrators. 

The chain, founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick who passed away in 2007, was sold by Brazilian cosmetics chain Natura & Co to Aurelius Group in November

The £207 million deal saw the investment group take on the chain’s 250 British stores.

But they called in insolvency administrators just weeks after it bought the chain.

A ‘significant’ number of the shops are like to close, but an insider told Sky News that exact numbers were not known.

The closure means heartbreak for thousands of nostalgic customers – but many have expressed their concern for what will happen to the staff. 

Up to 250 Body Shop stores could close across the country with thousands of jobs at risk as the chain’s new owners call in the administrators (file image)

The chain, founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick who passed away in 2007, was sold by Brazilian cosmetics chain Natura & Co to Aurelius Group in November

The chain, founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick who passed away in 2007, was sold by Brazilian cosmetics chain Natura & Co to Aurelius Group in November

Nostalgic customers took to social media to express their disappointment and their concern for the staff working for the popular chain

Nostalgic customers took to social media to express their disappointment and their concern for the staff working for the popular chain

One person said found Anita Roddick would have been ‘horrified’ at the news.

Some took to X to reminisce about their childhood memories of shopping at the popular beauty chain.

But many expressed their worry for those who face losing their jobs, with one user saying: ‘Never knew Body Shop were in trouble. Two of my family members work there.’

Aurelius, which also owns sportswear retailer Footasylum and the now-bankrupt healthcare chain Lloydspharmacy, is now preparing to appoint FRP Advisory to handle the insolvency process of the company’s UK operations, Sky News reported. 

An insider told Sky that the insolvency of its UK arm would not impact the operation of its stores in the rest of the world. 

Two days ago, it was revealed that The Body Shop’s former owners Natura wrote to Aurelius to find out why former employees haven’t yet received bonuses worth £2million and £3 million that were promised as part of their severance. 

RetailWeek reported that 20 former Body Shop employees are collectively owed the sum of money that they have still not been paid. 

Last week, it was revealed that Aurelius, which bought the company in 2017 from L’Oreal for around £850 million, handed over much of its Europe and Asia enterprises to an unnamed ‘international family office’ as part of its turnaround strategy for the long-troubled health retailer, which directly employs around 10,000 people across the world. 

In November, it emerged the high street beauty retailer agreed to sell its 250 stores after struggling with profitability.

At the time, the private equity buyer, Aurelius, said that it would have an opportunity to ‘re-energise’ the retailer.

Founder of The Body Shop, Anita Roddick stands outside one of her stores in 1985

Founder of The Body Shop, Anita Roddick stands outside one of her stores in 1985

‘We are delighted to be undertaking this acquisition of an iconic British brand, which pioneered the cruelty-free and natural ingredient movement in the health and beauty market,’ said Aurelius partner Tristan Nagler.

‘We look forward to working with CEO Ian Bickley and his team to drive operational improvements and re-energise the business, and help to deliver the next chapter of success.’ 

The Body Shop was first set up in 1976, opening its first store in Brighton, with the aim of providing health products made with ‘ethically sourced and naturally-based ingredients’ that were not tested on animals. 

Just seven years later, the business had grown to 138 stores, thanks to a franchising model that saw a rapid rise in brick-and-mortar locations. 

In 1984, the company was publicly listed in London, and its stock price by nearly 11,000% in the first eight years of its listing.  

By 1994, nine out of ten Body Shop locations were franchises. 

In 2006, The Body Shop was sold to L’Oreal for more than £650 million, a move that was considered controversial at the time given the French company’s policy of animal testing. 

Both Aurelius and FRP Advisory declined to comment when approach by MailOnline.  

MailOnline has contacted The Body Shop for comment.