2,000 UK jobs at risk as once pioneering The Body Shop goes into administration

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LONDON – The British arm of The Body Shop has collapsed into administration, putting 2,000 jobs at risk at the one-time pioneering ethical cosmetics retailer.

Founded in Brighton, England, in 1976 by the late environmentalist and human rights activist Anita Roddick, The Body Shop was famous for promoting natural, ethically sourced products and rejecting animal testing.

The retailer was one of the most popular on the British high street in the 1980s and 1990s, but it has faced greater competition from newcomers in recent years, including from those also touting ethical credentials.

It currently trades from 199 British stores and online.

FRP, the business advisory firm appointed as administrator, said on Feb 13 it would continue to trade The Body Shop’s UK operation, while it considered all options to find a way forward for the business.

Going into administration, a form of creditor protection, can lead to a sale of the business or the closure of stores.

The Body Shop was bought by L’Oreal in 2006 before changing hands again in 2017, when the French cosmetics giant sold it to Brazilian cosmetics maker Natura & Co for €1 billion (S$1.45 billion).

But after struggling with profitability, Natura, in turn, sold it in November to private investor Aurelius Group in a deal valued at £207 million (S$352 million).

“The Body Shop has faced an extended period of financial challenges under past owners, coinciding with a difficult trading environment for the wider retail sector,” said FRP. REUTERS

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