A COSMETICS company which shut its Salisbury store last month owes Wiltshire hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The Body Shop is yet to repay more than £44m to creditors after it plunged into administration in February, new Companies House documents show.

Wiltshire Council will try to claw back £3,526 from the failed business, which is now owned by private equity firm Aurelius.

The council isn't the only creditor left short changed though as other businesses have been left far worse off.

Welton Bibby and Baron, a paper bag-making business based in Westbury, is owed £315,396.07.

In total, The Body Shop owes money to 652 company creditors, with the total owed amounting to £44,626,414.43.

Salisbury Journal: The Body Shop in the Old George Mall has been mostly stripped.The Body Shop in the Old George Mall has been mostly stripped. (Image: Newsquest)

The Body Shop fell into administration in early February after previous forecasts for how much funding it would need to keep going proved too low.

In the weeks that followed, administrators said that hundreds of jobs would be lost and dozens of shops closed.

Now, around 82 of the 197 UK stores have closed causing 425 people to lose their jobs, with a further 329 people being made redundant at the head office.

This included the closure of Salisbury's store last month, on March 20, leaving the Old George Mall unit empty.

Read more: Salisbury shoppers react to The Body Shop, Old George Mall, closing

The business had previously expected that its peak funding requirement would be £63 million, but it later had to revise this forecast to “in excess of £100 million”, a report sent from the administrators to creditors showed.

That difference, combined with the Body shop’s “poor trading performance” meant shareholders “could not commit to the required level of funding,” a report from FRP Advisory said.

The Body Shop as founded by prolific campaigner Dame Anita Roddick in 1976 where it traded out of a small shop in Brighton, making a name for itself selling cruelty-free fairtrade products.

But, administrators said, in the late 1990s, the company was “no longer offering a distinctive product” at an “agreeable” price as other brands adopted similar policies and stricter laws came into force.

In 2006, the company was sold to cosmetics giant L’Oreal “who deviated from the core values that drove the brand’s earlier success,” FRP said.

Natura bought the business in 2017 and “attempted to return … to its founding principles”.

That effort was “ultimately unsuccessful” in getting consumers interested again.

Councillor Nick Botterill, Wiltshire's cabinet member for finance said: “The Body Shop owe some business rates for 2023-24 for each of the three units that they had in Wiltshire, and we will be submitting details of the outstanding business rates to the Liquidator in due course.”