The Body Shop ends US operations, plans UK and Canada stores closures

By AP   March 12, 2024 | 06:25 pm PT
The Body Shop ends US operations, plans UK and Canada stores closures
Shoppers walk pass The Body Shop store in Oxford Street, as the cosmetics retailer has collapsed into administration in the UK, in London, Britain, February 13, 2024. Photo by Reuters
The Body Shop has ceased its U.S. operations and is closing dozens of locations in Canada amid deepening financial struggles for the British beauty and cosmetics chain.

The Body Shop's U.S. arm ceased operations on March 1, according to a company announcement from earlier this month. And the brand's Canadian subsidiary commenced liquidation of 33 closing stores as part of wider restructuring proceedings.

These closings arrive just weeks after the U.K.-based retailer appointed insolvency administrators set to consider "all options to find a way forward" after years of financial struggles.

A spokesperson for FRP, the administrators hired by The Body Shop International, told The Associated Press Monday that they have also announced plans to shutter 82 of 198 stores total in the U.K. Those closings are expected to occur over the next five weeks.

FRP does not oversee The Body Shop's U.S. or Canadian subsidiaries. A spokesperson for The Body Shop North America did not immediately respond Monday to requests for further information.

In its March 1 announcement, The Body Shop Canada said it had filed for a notice of intention pursuant to the country's Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act "to obtain a stay" of its parent's administration proceedings in the U.K. — and "provide additional breathing room while it evaluates its strategic alternatives and implements certain restructuring initiatives."

At the time, The Body Shop Canada said its total 105 stores were still open — but that the 33 closings, and end of online sales via Canada's e-commerce platform, were set to arrive "in the near term."

Specifics about the timing of closings and liquidation for U.S. locations were not immediately provided.

The Body Shop, which founded by Anita Roddick and her husband back in 1976, is often hailed as an early champion of ethical practices in business. The retailer of soaps, creams and makeup has promoted fair-trading practices and products that were not tested on animals.

The brand became hugely popular in the 1980s, when it listed on the London Stock Exchange, and grew to have stores in some 80 countries, including many operated through franchises.

In 2006, Roddick and her husband sold The Body Shop to beauty giant L’Oreal. The brand later was passed on to Brazilian cosmetics business Natura in 2017 — and was then sold to Aurelius, a private equity firm that specializes in buying and turning around troubled companies, late last year in a deal valued at $261 million (207 million pounds).

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