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Germany and Belgium see The Body Shop administration filings continuing



The Body Shop’s UK administration filing last week wasn’t the end of the devastation at the once thriving chain with new owner Aurelius having now also put the German ops into administration. And the Belgian unit will be next.


Aurelius struck a £207 million deal to buy the struggling business from Brazil’s Natura &Co late last year, and it quickly offloaded parts of the Europe business and the Asian operations.

The buyer wasn’t disclosed but reports have now said that it’s Alma24, which is controlled by Friedrich Trautwein, who reportedly has links to Aurelius. 

That sale was followed by the UK arm’s administration that’s likely to see the chain surviving in some form but large numbers of stores closing and over 2,000 jobs at risk. 

Although the UK chain is the largest for the brand in any single European country, the German and forthcoming Belgian administrations still mean over 460 jobs are at risk there.

Reports suggested that the more-than-60 stores and HQ in Germany are likely to close.

There are also question marks over the business in other parts of Europe.

The Body Shop had been struggling for some time with Natura realising it didn’t have what it took to revitalise a giant global chain. The UK arm had made a big loss in its latest year.

Natura’s deal with Aurelius was announced in November and completed very quickly. But with the business suffering a worse-than-expected festive season, the upbeat talk of reviving the chain all began to unravel.

It’s expected that the business will survive, but the administration filings mean it’s likely to emerge as a slimmed down echo of its former self. Aurelius is likely to remain in control as it’s a significant creditor, ranking ahead of other creditors, and has control of key assets.

Some of the actions it has taken since buying the business are regular occurrences for private equity buyouts. But with many long-standing staff seeing their jobs at risk, some former employees saying they haven’t been paid money they’re owed and the shock therapy that the chain is currently enduring having been worse than might have been predicted, it’s unlikely to improve private equity’s image when it comes to retail acquisitions.

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