Around 20 redundancies could be made at the Body Shop in Littlehampton as part of a restructure – with factors including the impact of Brexit uncertainty noted by company officials.
The news, confirmed in a statement by the firm, follows speculation in the national press that the distribution centre at Watersmead Business Park was relocating to Frankfurt, Germany.
A spokesman for the cosmetics company has since said that it will be opening up an additional distribution centre there but will continue to operate its distribution centre in Littlehampton.
The spokesman confirmed the restructure will result in approximately 20 roles being made redundant in Littlehampton.
They said: “The Body Shop is opening a new distribution centre in, Frankfurt, Germany. We will continue to operate our distribution centre in Littlehampton.
“In terms of the impact on the distribution centre in Littlehampton, the changes will result in approximately 20 roles being made redundant.
“The Body Shop is seeking to reduce the number of redundancies wherever possible; including by redeployment elsewhere within the business.”
The spokesman said the new distribution centre in Frankfurt, the first in Continental Europe, will contribute to ‘improving the quality of our service across all channels we operate in’.
They said the company was implementing a wide-ranging global transformation programme, designed to return the business to sustainable, profitable growth under new ownership by Natura &Co.
The programme consists of five core pillars of activity; one of which is an organisational redesign, said the spokesman.
They added: “The new design of the business will strengthen the company’s brand and customer experience, connect activities across e-commerce and retail, reduce duplication and drive greater simplicity, clarity and cost-efficiency.
“The continued uncertainty about the impact of Brexit requires us to be proactive in managing every aspect of our business to meet our customers’ needs.”
David Boynton, CEO of The Body Shop, said: “It’s no secret that the retail landscape has changed tremendously in recent years and it’s become clear that The Body Shop needs to act faster in adapting to this changed world, so that we are in the best possible shape to meet our customers’ needs and expectations across our markets and channels.
“We are making progress but we are very ambitious as a company and there is still much to do.
“We have a fantastic brand with a strong heritage, a talented team and great products.
“The fact is that we haven’t made enough of these assets in recent years, so we are refocusing every part of the organisation, which includes making changes to our structure.
“We believe these changes are necessary so we can not only take better care of our customers and fulfil our potential as a world-class beauty business, but also to continue Anita Roddick’s legacy and truly be a force for good in the wider world.”