Pure Beauty

The Body Shop is ‘opportunistic’, not failing, says ex-CEO

By Alessandro Carrara | Published: 28-Feb-2024

David Boynton, who was CEO of the brand for five years, said the administration was an ‘opportunistic’ method to have taxpayers pay for the restructuring

The Body Shop is not gone from the UK high street.

That is the opinion of the retailer’s former CEO David Boynton, who has now weighed in on the embattled beauty brand's current predicament. 

Boynton said the administration of the business’ UK division is not a story of a “failing brand” or the challenges of high street retail.

Instead, in a LinkedIn post, he called the process a “legal and opportunistic” way to get tax payers, landlords and other small suppliers to fund a restructuring plan.

He said this method would allow the owners to “exit with a huge upside in the future”.

The Body Shop’s redundancy bills will reportedly be footed by the UK’s taxpayers, after affected staff were told to make a claim to the Redundancy Payments Service.

The government-backed scheme is funded by national insurance contributions.

“The reality is that the Body Shop UK is not in administration because it is failing; and it will live on into the future,” said Boynton.

He goes on to write that The Body Shop’s UK business has always been “highly profitable”, and that the majority of its stores in the country make money.

“The figures that often get referred to in the media from Company House accounts about big losses, reflect the global business, not the UK,” Boynton added.

“The profit ratios in 2023 even showed an improvement on the previous year, thanks to cost reduction measures started in Q1 2023.”

Boynton, who served as the embattled beauty brand’s CEO for five years, stepped down from the position in April 2023.

The Body Shop declined to comment on the reason behind his departure at the time, but praised Boynton’s tenure with the business.

Boynton’s comments come after The Body Shop’s administrator FRP Advisory said nearly half of the brand's 198 UK stores could be shuttered as part of restructuring plans.

Seven of the business’ stores have already been closed across London, Kent and Bristol, including its Oxford Street flagship.

Some 300 head office roles have also been slashed, which FRP said will help to create a “more nimble and financially viable” business model.

Fashion retailer Next is reportedly in the running to acquire the distressed beauty business.

The business has approached FRP about a potential deal to purchase assets of the Aurelius Group-owned beauty brand, according to Sky News.

However, the British news channel said there were doubts that FRP would choose to run a conventional auction.

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