A selection of private equity firms are in the running to rescue The Body Shop’s troubled high street business. 

Body Shop Oxford Street sign

The Body Shop’s administrators are said to be  “encouraged” by the level of interest from potential bidders

Investment giants Gordon Brothers and Alteri Investors are among the names eyeing a bid for the health and beauty retailer, The Telegraph has reported. 

Gordon Brothers, which bought Laura Ashley out of administration in 2020, is understood to have submitted a rescue bid for what is left of the chain. 

The PE firm is led by former Mothercare boss Mark Newton James in the UK, who was at the helm of the nursery retailer during its collapse four years ago. 

Alteri Investors, which owns Bensons for Beds, is also said to be in the running among a small group of competing firms. 

The beauty chain, which fell into administration in February less than three months after being acquired by Aurelius, has since closed nearly half its 197 stores and made nearly 754 UK staff redundant across its head office, distribution centre and store estate.

Retail Week revealed The Body Shop had racked up £15m in debt over unpaid bills to its former owner Natura &Co, and debts dating from the brief period when private equity firm Aurelius took control of The Body Shop and before the brand collapsed into administration.

FRP Advisory, which is handling the chain’s administration, set an end-of-June deadline to finalise a sale of the business after plans for a company voluntary arrangement fell through.

Aurelius has ruled out returning with a bid for the stricken business. There were also rumours that Natura might be interested in buying back The Body Shop in a cut-price deal, but the cosmetics brand has flat-out refuted this.

Sources close to FRP said it has been “encouraged” by the level of interest in The Body Shop from potential bidders to date.