Bedford Body Shop remains open but future is uncertain

Body Shop, Silver Street Bedford. Image: Google Maps image capture June 2018
Body Shop, Silver Street Bedford. Image: Google Maps image capture June 2018

The branch of the Body Shop in Bedford is not among the seven that were closed by administrators today (Tuesday), but its future remains uncertain as the business undergoes a restructuring plan.

Four stores in London plus Nuneaton, Ashford and Bristol were the immediate casualties, with additional closures to follow.

Just months after the business was bought by German private equity firm, Aurelius, the Joint Administrators, Tony Wright, Geoff Rowley, and Alastair Massey, announced a restructuring plan that they say will secure the future of The Body Shop, which was founded in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick.

The shake-up will see the closure of around half of the brand’s 198 stores, with head office to lose around 40% of its workforce, bringing the number of employees to 400.

“After years of unprofitability and following a full evaluation of The Body Shop’s UK business, the Joint Administrators have concluded that the current store portfolio mix is no longer viable,” said a spokesperson.

“As an immediate step, seven stores will close today, with additional closures to follow.”

They said that store closures will coincide with a “renewed focus on the brand’s products, online sales channels and wholesale strategies, bringing the brand in line with industry peers and supporting a return to financial stability”.

If it is to close, it will be another blow for Silver Street, which in recent years has seen the closure of Debenhams, River Island and Beales.

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