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The Body Shop Is Closing All U.S. Stores After Filing for Bankruptcy

The once-iconic cosmetics store will shutter all 33 of its remaining locations stateside.

If you think back to a trip to the mall even just a few years ago, there's a good chance many of the stores you remember seeing wouldn't be around today. Drastic changes in the retail industry have seen many shops scale back their brick-and-mortar presence just to stay afloat, including some big household names like Macy's. But despite their best efforts, some businesses have disappeared from the landscape entirely. Now, The Body Shop has announced it's closing all of its U.S. stores after recently filing for bankruptcy. Read on to see what happened to the once-popular company and how it's planning to wind down operations.

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The Body Shop launched decades ago as an eco-conscious alternative to cosmetic shopping.

A young woman shopping for skincare and cosmetics

Today, it's becoming more common for companies to incorporate environmental responsibility into their daily practices. But The Body Shop serves as one of the earliest success stories of a retailer who made a commitment to ecological causes a core part of its business.

The store was founded in the U.K. in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick, who chose to focus on using natural ingredients for skincare and shampoos. She also was an early champion of recycling and ending product testing on animals, USA Today reports.

Over the decades, the retailer expanded its reach as it grew from a single shop to an international brand.

"It was a mecca for joy and everything she stood for was what business should be today," Mary Portas, a retail consultant, told the BBC last month. "[Dame Anita] talked about business being a force for good and making progress and having an effect in the world."

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The retailer suffered an identity crisis after a series of ownership changes in recent decades.

A close up of a sign for The Body Shop
MA PHOTOGRAPY/Shutterstock

However, the trailblazing company has seen a slow decline in recent years. In 2006, Roddick sold the company to cosmetics giant L'Oreal, a move that drastically changed the store's trajectory, the BBC reports.

"L'Oreal knows how to use brands," Portas told the BBC. "[But] it did not know how to run a retailer, and so the soul went out of it."

In the decades since its initial sale, the retailer was also offloaded twice more, increasing its footprint to more than 2,500 locations in over 80 countries as of last year, CNN reports. But more recently, it began to struggle with flagging sales and increased competition.

"The Body Shop itself hasn't really evolved its concepts, but all its competitors have come up behind it and not only have the advantage of sustainability, but some also have really beautiful branding," Diane Wehrle, retail expert and chief executive at Rendle Intelligence and Insights, told the BBC. "[It] hasn't actually deteriorated, but it hasn't moved."

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The Body Shop is now closing all of its U.S. stores after declaring bankruptcy.

United States legal documents focused on Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Less than a year after it was sold to a private equity firm for roughly $250 million, the company showed serious signs of distress when it entered into administration in the U.K. last month, according to Reuters. The move came after the retailer reported lackluster holiday and early 2024 sales.

"The Body Shop has faced an extended period of financial challenges under past owners, coinciding with a difficult trading environment for the wider retail sector," the administrators said in a statement at the time.

In a March 1 press release, the company announced that its American subsidiary had "ceased operations." The move effectively shuttered roughly 50 of The Body Shop's remaining locations in the U.S., The Guardian reports. The company said it had also initiated liquidation sales at 33 of the 105 stores it operates in Canada and would stop all online sales within the country immediately.

The company faces more problems in its other international operations.

The exterior of The Body Shop retail store

Unfortunately, the company still appears to be facing significant challenges as it attempts to survive. The retailer's subsidiary in Australia and New Zealand—which includes 120 stores overall—is said to be running short on cash and saddled with high debts, The Guardian reports.

Other international divisions are also struggling: Operations in Denmark, Ireland, Germany, and Belgium were all placed into insolvency last month after they were sold to another company, The Guardian reported. The move also shuttered all stores in the countries, save for Germany.

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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