Next circles stricken Body Shop empire

Enderby-headquartered retail giant Next could be in line to take over stricken health and beauty counterpart The Body Shop.

Sky News reports that Next has approached the administrators of The Body Shop, FRP Advisory, with a view to buying parts of the Body Shop business when it is put up for sale.

However, as the weekend progressed, the reports suggest that the nascent talks had already stalled.

The sticking point could be that the intellectual property (IP) assets of The Body Shop won’t be included in any sale, according to Sky News. Private equity firm Aurelius, which took control of The Body Shop on January 1 is understood to have bought assets such as stock and IP.

Earlier this week, FRP announced that seven Body Shop stores were closing as part of a plan to shutter nearly half of its high street presence. Hundreds of jobs are set to be lost, with staff The Body Shop’s headquarters also affected.

FRP said: “This swift action will help re-energise The Body Shop’s iconic brand and provide it with the best platform to achieve its ambition to be a modern, dynamic beauty brand that is able to return to profitability and compete for the long term,”

Next has been busy in recent years snapping up similarly distressed assets such as Joules, Fat Face and It also bought Cath Kidston and Jo Jo Maman Bebe.