Anita Roddick, an environmental campaigner and activist, founded The Body Shop in 1976 and owned it for three decades until she sold it in 2006. The company was then purchased by Aurelius just six weeks before Christmas, but weak trading over the holidays and insufficient working capital have resulted in the need for insolvency proceedings.
The international businesses of The Body Shop have already been sold to an unknown family office. FRP Advisory is likely to be appointed as administrators soon, and it is expected that a significant number of stores will be closed. The future of the company remains uncertain as it faces financial difficulties.
Roddick’s strong ethical values were reflected in the company’s policies, such as refusing to stock products tested on animals and sourcing ingredients from natural products traded ethically. After her departure, the company changed ownership twice before being acquired by Aurelius in November. The decision to sell to L’Oreal in 2006 for £652m attracted criticism for departing from the company’s values.