The Body Shop: Sussex stores face uncertain future after closures announced

The majority of The Body Shop’s stores are 'expected to stay operational' but a large number are set to close, it has been revealed.
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Some 2,000 jobs and 100 high street shops were put at risk after bosses at the Sussex-founded skincare company announced the business was going into administration on February 13.

The update followed news that FRP Advisory was brought in to help restructure the company just weeks after it had been bought out by new owners, for the third time since Littlehampton-born founder Anita Roddick sold the company in 2006.

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The Body Shop has some 200 stores in high streets up and down the country, including Chichester, Brighton, Worthing, and Crawley.

The Body Shop in Chichester. Photo: Connor GormleyThe Body Shop in Chichester. Photo: Connor Gormley
The Body Shop in Chichester. Photo: Connor Gormley

Sky News had reported that 100 stores could be at risk as restructuring begins.

In an update on Tuesday, February 20, The Body Shop announced that stores ‘remain a part of future strategy’, with ‘more than half expected to stay operational’. However, nearly half are set to close.

“Having assessed the business, the joint administrators of The Body Shop, Tony Wright, Geoff Rowley, and Alastair Massey, today announce a restructuring plan to secure the future of The Body Shop,” a spokesperson for the administrators said.

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"After years of unprofitability and following a full evaluation of The Body Shop’s UK business, the joint administrators have concluded that the current store portfolio mix is no longer viable.

"As an immediate step, seven stores will close today, with additional closures to follow. It is expected that at the conclusion of the restructuring, more than half of The Body Shop’s 198 UK stores will remain open.”

The seven stores set to close are: Surrey Quays (London); Oxford Street Bond Street (London); Canary Wharf (London); Cheapside (London); Nuneaton (Warwickshire); Ashford Town Centre (Kent) and Bristol Queens Road (Bristol).

It is currently unclear if any Sussex shops will close.

The administrators said a ‘reduced store footprint’, will coincide with a ‘renewed focus’ on the brand’s products; online sales channels and wholesale strategies.

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They said this will ‘bring the brand in line with industry peers’ and ‘support a return to financial stability’.

Following the earlier sale of ‘loss-making businesses’ in much of mainland Europe and parts of Asia, and to ‘support a simplified business’, The Body Shop will also restructure roles in its head office.

This will align with a ‘forward-looking strategy’ and ‘more nimble, financially viable model’.

A spokesperson added: “The head office headcount is expected to reduce by approximately 40 per cent, to a future headcount of over 400 full time employees. The joint administrators have also decided The Body Shop Ambassador programme will close.

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"Stabilising and strengthening the central core will also support The Body Shop’s international strategy, with Global Head Franchise Partners and wholesale partners in Asia, Middle East and Europe a cornerstone of future success.

“This swift action will help re-energise The Body Shop’s iconic brand and provide it with the best platform to achieve its ambition to be a modern, dynamic beauty brand that is able to return to profitability and compete for the long term.”