The final deadline for bids for The Body Shop is set for tomorrow (July 3) as FRP is keen to wrap up a sale of the struggling beauty chain, The Sun reports.


Prospective buyers of The Body Shop have to submit their bids by July 3

The Body Shop’s administrator has set a deadline of tomorrow for all prospective buyers to submit rescue bids for the struggling beauty chain.

Investment giant Gordon Brothers, which owns Laura Ashley, has emerged as the leading contender to become the next owner of The Body Shop after private equity firm Alteri Investors withdrew its interest.

Modella Capital, which is part of private equity house R Capital, along with an existing franchise partner of The Body Shop’s operations in Asia, are also said to be in the running for the chain.

A source close to the situation said FRP is keen to finalise a sale of the business as The Body Shop is yet to place orders for its Christmas stock which comes out of the Avon factory in Poland. The last quarter is the beauty chain’s most important trading period and makes up for over 30% of its total sales.

The administrator’s proposal report estimated The Body Shop’s brand and IP to be valued at £7.9m. However, Retail Week understands this number could go up to £20m as prospective buyers prepare bids for the chain.

The iconic 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, plus debts dating from the brief period when private equity firm Aurelius took control of The Body Shop before the brand collapsed into administration.