The Body Shop is appointing administrators with a restructure and store losses likely, Rachel Younger reports
ITV News has learned that the Body Shop has begun the process of filing for administration.
The business has been in trouble for some time and a restructure is widely expected to lead to shop closures and job losses, as the administrators look to streamline the 200-plus stores in the UK and announce a shift of focus to online sales.
Trading over the key Christmas period and into January was not as strong as hoped.
The business was founded by the late Dame Anita Roddick, who opened her first shop in Brighton in 1976.
The brand describes itself as a "force for good", and has marketed itself on ethically sourced and naturally-based ingredients from around the world.
It was the first international beauty brand to campaign against animal testing in cosmetics.
The Body Shop was bought by private equity firm Aurelius just weeks ago. It has changed hands three times since it was sold by Dame Roddick in 2006, shortly before her death the following year.
The brand was boycotted by some consumers in 2006, after L’Oreal bought the company. People accused the cosmetics company of testing their products on animals.
It is understood that the administration process for its UK operations will not impact the brand's global franchise partners.
For fashion columnist Sali Hughes, The Body Shop was more than a cosmetics store.
"A lot of the natural beauty products and beauty lines that we take for granted now come from Anita Roddick and The Body Shop," she told ITV News.
"It really spearheaded the trend towards natural and cruelty free products and sustainability as a whole.
"In a way its become a victim of its own success. It created a world that is now thriving. There are now natural 'clean' beauty products, the cruelty free movement is massive.
Fashion columnist Sali Hughes spoke to ITV News about how The Body Shop was more than a cosmetics store for her
"Everything that began with Anita Roddick is now huge, which has expanded the competition for The Body Shop.
"I really hope they make it through because they are an important retailer, and important brand and an important part of British culture," she added.
Retail analyst Sofie Willmott from GlobalData retail thinks that the company has struggled to engage with a younger viewer over the years.
"The beauty market is really tough at the moment. It's evident on social media, you can see brands fighting for attention.
"If it were to cut some stores, The Body Shop may be able to spend more on marketing and get some younger customers in."
Actor Adjoa Andoh, best known for playing Lady Danbury in the Netflix series Bridgerton, said there is an 'emotional attachment' to the brand for many people.
"Generations of us have been going to The Body Shop. I think we get an emotional attachment to these places," she said.
Actor Adjoa Andoh, best known for playing Lady Danbury in Bridgerton, said there is an 'emotional attachment' to the brand for many people
"I remember being thrilled when one opened in Brixton, we felt anchored in that way. I feel that many feel similarly.
"Not only do they like their produce, but they like what their produce is connected to.
"The fact that you can refill your bottles, especially when you're thinking about climate change. I think for all those reasons we've become quite attached to it, it's become part of how we shop".
The Body Shop and Aurelius declined to comment.
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