The Body Shop is to close almost half of its UK stores and cut hundreds of jobs as it fights to survive.
The company had 198 stores in Britain and 2,200 employees when it went into administration last week in a blow to the High Street.
In a grim update yesterday, administrators said the store property is “no longer viable” after “years of unprofitability”.
The FRP Advisory statement added: ‘As an immediate step, seven stores will close today, with additional closures to follow. At the end of the restructuring, more than half of The Body Shop’s 198 stores are expected to remain open.’
That set the stage for the closure of up to 98 stores nationwide.
Collapse: The Body Shop had 198 stores in Britain and 2,200 staff when it went into administration last week in a blow to the High Street.
The seven immediate closures included sites in Bristol, Nuneaton in Warwickshire and Ashford in Kent, as well as four in London at Canary Wharf, Cheapside, Oxford Street and Surrey Quays.
Administrators also announced plans to cut 40 per cent of staff at the skincare retailer’s London Bridge head office. This represents around 300 layoffs from a workforce of more than 700 people.
There will now be a renewed focus on online sales as it looks to “return to financial stability”.
The collapse of The Body Shop comes almost half a century after Anita Roddick founded it in Brighton in 1976, before it became a firm favorite of the middle classes.
Announcing the restructuring, FRP said: “This swift action will help to revitalize The Body Shop’s iconic brand and provide it with the best platform to achieve its ambition of being a modern and dynamic beauty brand that is capable of returning to profitability and compete in the long term.”
Stores that closed yesterday had higher rents and other bills.
The Body Shop has suffered a drop in sales amid warnings it had lost its way in recent years.
Roddick and her husband Gordon faced criticism when they sold the company to L’Oreal for £652m in 2006. A year later, Roddick died aged 64 following a brain haemorrhage.
Under L’Oreal’s ownership, the company saw its business model change slightly, with production moved to the Philippines and discounts used to boost sales.
After further international expansion, in 2017 the company was bought by Natura & Co, the Brazilian owners of Avon which specialized in direct-to-consumer sales, for £880 million.
Six years later, in November 2023, the company changed ownership again and was sold for a reduced price of £207 million to Germany-based private equity firm Aurelius.