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NEXT ponders rescue bid for The Body Shop

Lauretta Roberts
26 February 2024

Acquisitive high street giant NEXT is reported to be considering a rescue bid for troubled beauty retailer The Body Shop.

It has been reported that NEXT has contacted the administrators for The Body Shop, FRP Advisory, about the potential to purchase any assets of the chain as part of the sale process that is about to get underway.

According to Sky News, NEXT had been eyeing The Body Shop for some time. In recent years the high street group has acquired a number of names, often out of administration, including Cath Kidston, and Joules. It also acquired large stakes in Jojo Maman Bébé and Reiss and has joint venture agreements with Victoria's Secret and Gap.

However, Sky reports that one potential stumbling block for a potential deal for The Body Shop lies with the IP and brand, which are said not to be a part of the administration process. It is believed that private equity house Aurelius, which acquired The Body Shop at the end of last year for £207 million from Brazil's Natura & Co and put it into administration this month, has been funding the rest of the business since and as part of that secured assets such as the IP and brand.

One possible outcome of the administration process is that Aurelius re-acquires a restructured version of The Body Shop. Already FRP has embarked on a restructure of The Body Shop's head office and is closing almost 200 (around half) of its UK stores. Any deal with NEXT is said to be unlikely to save a large number of its stores.

"A reduced store footprint will coincide with a renewed focus on the brand’s products, online sales channels and wholesale strategies, bringing it in line with industry peers and supporting a return to financial stability," a statement from FRP said when it announced closures last week.

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