Council and Somerset businesses owed thousands by Body Shop after falling into administration

A Body Shop store -Credit:Mike Egerton/PA Wire
A Body Shop store -Credit:Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Body Shop owes thousands of pounds to Bath and North East Somerset Council and local businesses after the retailer fell into administration. The cosmetics brand was forced to close nearly half of its 198 stores across the UK, including multiple across the South West.

Its stores in Bath, Taunton and Clarks Village in Street all remain open, but its new owners, private equity firm Aurelius, is trying to balance the books. According to Companies House, Body Shop owes money to 652 company creditors, with the total owed amounting to £44,626,414.43.

Among these funds, Bath and North East Somerset Council is owed £5,958.33. Council figures have confirmed Body Shop had paid its rent before entering administration and its new owners are continuing to pay for its Bath branch.

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Bath and North East Somerset Council is not the only local authority listed to be owed money, with councils in Gloucestershire, Bristol and Wiltshire all named in the documents.

Multiple firms across Somerset are also owed money by Body Shop, which includes Bath-based Future Publishing being owed £4,800. Real estate management firm Realm Ltd, based in Street, is owed £17,410.60, Inkpact Market Ltd in Williton is owed £24,000 and Kitchen Table Publishing of Frome is owed £22,400.

Companies House documents do not declare what the paid works were for.

A spokeswoman for Bath and North East Somerset Council said: “When the Body Shop International plc entered the insolvency process of administration on 13th February 2024, the company had paid all the rent due up to and including 31st January. Since February the premises have been occupied by the administrator as part of the administration process.

“During the period of their occupation, the administrator remains liable for paying all rent as a cost of the administration. Accordingly, any rent that is payable to the council will remain payable until the occupation of the store either ceases or is regularised under a new lease.”

Around 82 of the 197 UK stores have closed and 425 people lost their jobs, with a further 329 people being made redundant at the head office.

The Body Shop fell into administration in early February after previous forecasts for how much funding it would need to keep going proved too low. The business had previously expected that its peak funding requirement would be £63 million, but it later had to revise this forecast to “in excess of £100 million”, a report sent from the administrators to creditors showed.

The Body Shop was founded by Dame Anita Roddick in 1976, trading out of a small shop in Brighton originally and made its name selling cruelty-free fairtrade products. However administrators said, in the late 1990s, the company was “no longer offering a distinctive product” at an “agreeable” price as other brands adopted similar policies and stricter laws came into force.

The company was sold to cosmetics giant L’Oreal in 2006 “who deviated from the core values that drove the brand’s earlier success,” FRP said. Natura bought the business in 2017 and “attempted to return … to its founding principles”.

The report added this effort was “ultimately unsuccessful” in getting consumers interested again.