The UK-born global beauty brand, which recently announced that it had become a 100%-vegan beauty company, has around 200 stores in Britain.
According to a report from Sky News, Aurelius will appoint administrators at FRP Advisory to handle the insolvency process, which could potentially lead to store closures and job losses. The business apparently has insufficient working capital and saw a weaker trading performance than expected.
Part of a broader strategy
Aurelius, which also owns the Lloyd’s Pharmacy and Footasylum chains in the UK, acquired The Body Shop from Brazilian multinational Natura&Co for £207m (€242.5m) in November 2023.
The private equity firm specialises in buying and turning around failing businesses. Its aim is said to be to create a more financially viable business after The Body Shop has struggled under a succession of corporate owners.
Previously it had been part of the L’Oréal Group, before being sold to Natura & Co in 2017 for €1bn.
This move is said to be part of Aurelius’ broader strategy to turn around the struggling retailer, which includes selling parts of the business in both Asia and parts of Europe. But the administration is not expected to impact The Body Shop’s global franchise partners.
When it was acquired by Aurelius, The Body Shop supposedly employed about 10,000 people, and operated roughly 3,000 stores in 70 different countries.
The private equity business had already decided to close the struggling Body Shop at Home division and the company’s CEO Ian Bickley had stepped down in January.
The Body Shop was once a visionary beauty and personal care industry pioneer. It was founded by the late Anita Roddick and her husband Gordon in 1976 and was one of the first companies to pioneer ethical consumerism and argue that business could be a force for good.
It was once a big success story in the UK market and overseas, but had struggled under previous ownership as it began to contend with more companies catching up with its once-unique ethical stance in recent years. Although it has struggled to make profitable growth, it had still retained a prominent presence on UK high streets.
Aurelius, The Body Shop and FRP have all refrained from giving comment.