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Fears for The Body Shop employees as closure in the Republic leaves staff payments in limbo


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Irish employees at cosmetics chain, the Body Shop have sought representation from trade union, SIPTU as fears grow that its closure may impact staff redundancy payments.

A source at the retailer told the Irish Examiner earlier this month that the well-known skincare and cosmetics chain would shut its stores and operations in the Republic of Ireland, with staff members receiving a notice period of two weeks.

The chain, which has seven stores in the Republic, will close on Thursday, the 29th of February and it is understood that store stock will start to be removed this week. 

The Body Shop employs 50 people in the Republic across its seven stores. Five of the stores have leases signed by The Body Shop International Ltd, according to most recent account filings. The other two stores operate under franchise agreements.

Last year, the Irish arm of the Body Shop reported a pre-tax loss of €1.6m which the company said was primarily driven by an impairment loss on intangible assets of over €1.5m.

Its closure in the Republic follows a tumultuous period for the struggling retailer, which last year, was sold to Pan-European investor Aurelius, which owns Footasylum and Lloyds Pharmacy, in a deal worth £207m (€242m).

Most of the retailer’s European business was then subsequently sold to another buyer, who was not named. 

The Guardian has reported that company documents filings in Europe suggest the new buyer is a company named Alma24.

Speaking on the closure’s impact on Irish employees, People Before Profit TD, Mick Barry said workers at the Body Shop were owed “considerable sums of money” by their employer.

“The shops should not be allowed to close this week, not should stock be allowed to be cleared, until such a time as every one of those workers have received their entitlements in full.”

It is understood that the issue will be raised in the Dáil tomorrow. 

Earlier this month, the skincare chain’s German stores were put into administration and staff in Belgium were also told that their jobs were not safe. The German and Belgian stores employ a total of 460 people.

The Body Shop’s UK business, which is still under the ownership of Aurelius, also fell into administration, with the company announcing it would shut up to half of its 198 stores in the UK and cut the size of its head office, leading to hundreds of job losses.

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