The Body Shop is turning its stores into “activist hubs” in a bid to attract more customers into its high street branches.

The ethical beauty retailer has recently updated its purpose and will put “activism at the heart of its brand strategy”. It aims to focus on gender equality and become “a real feminist brand”.

As part of that drive, The Body Shop will upskill its in-store teams across the country to help run locally based activism projects.

Head of global activism Jessie Macneil-Brown told Marketing Week: “We’re seeing our way into the women’s rights space because at the heart of our activism we want to work towards gender equality and be a real feminist brand.

”People love people, that’s human nature, and we want to be part of our community. We are working on all the ways we can do that in store.”

The move comes as the high street struggles to combat declining footfall and fragile consumer confidence.

According to data from the BRC and KPMG, retailers suffered one of the worst Christmas trading periods since the recession, with only a handful of categories recording growth last December.

Like-for-like retail sales decreased 0.7% compared to the same period in 2017, while total sales were flat.