Bath Voice News: beauty retailer The Body Shop enters administration casting doubt over the future of the city’s branch

By Harry Mottram: Administrators have been appointed to The Body Shop chain of beauty product shops after a reported poor period of sales over the winter. It casts doubt over the future of its hundreds of branches including the one in Burton Street in Bath. In 2022 it reopened after a brief refresh along with a roll-out in other stores to highlight new products while in 2020 like other so-called non-essential stores it was forced to close due to the Covid-19 Crisis for a time. Ian Carrotte of ICSM in Somerset that monitors potential insolvencies for its business members said it was quite possible a new owner for the chain would be found but perhaps not all branches would be saved. He said Bath was one of its most popular stores and so there is hope it may yet remain open.

Founded by the late Anita Roddick in 1976 the retailing chain grew from a single shop to some 3,000 outlets in more than 65 countries with numerous franchised stores and upwards of 9,000 staff with many more suppliers.

The retailer that once dominated the so-called ethical beauty market has seen its share slide as rivals offered equally ethical and environmentally friendly products from Boots to Sainsburys as well as Lush and Neal’s Yard Remedies. However back in the 1980s the chain rose to dominate the market until it all came crashing down when journalist Jon Entine exposed the company for green-washing in 1994 – pretending to be concerned with fair trade and the environment when in reality it wasn’t. After a further expose was published in 2004 the chain began to see its market challenged by new firms who used ethical and environmental standards as part of their USP. The firm was sold to L’Oreal in 2006 who sold it on again to Natura in 2017 for £880 million before Aurelius acquired it in 2023 for £207 million. There has been some speculation over whether the owners were intent on asset stripping – as many of the stores have prime locations. That is still an open question for some.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM – the business membership group in Somerset dedicated to fighting bad debts and late payers with many members involved in the retail sector – said: “We are very concerned over the plight of the suppliers as being an international retailer with many franchise outlets the supply chain is huge – with many small businesses that supply The Body Shop. The stores remain open at the moment and we suspect it is possible some will be bought in a deal – but in the meantime we advise suppliers to refrain from completing orders until there is more information from the administrators and only accept payment with orders.”

The BBC reported that FRP Advisory said that the brand had faced a “difficult trading environment” like other shops as customers’ budgets have been squeezed and online retailing has boomed in recent years.

Andrew Goodacre of the British Independent Retailers Association, said: “It seems that we hear about the demise of a national retailer every few months… We hope that the employees and franchisees are looked after while the future of this chain is decided.”

Bath Voice Monthly Newspaper is distributed free to thousands of homes and some supermarkets – distributed from the first of the month. Harry Mottram is the News Editor

Email him at Bath website:
Bath Facebook:  Also on Twitter: Read the newspaper online at : To advertise to thousands of Bathonians call Erica on 07402 441485 or email her on

Harry Mottram is a freelance journalist. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Telegram, TikTok and Mobile: 07789 864769