Today’s news in brief-1/7/24

Several firms, including Gordon Brothers led by Mark Newton-Jones, are bidding to rescue The Body Shop’s UK business after its collapse into administration earlier this year. Alteri and Modella Capital are also considering bids. The retailer, known for its beauty products, faced financial difficulties despite a recent takeover attempt. Administrators have closed 75 stores, with around 100 remaining.

Sebastien James, managing director of Boots, is set to leave in November following the shelving of plans to sell the retailer by its owner, Walgreens Boots Alliance. James oversaw a successful turnaround, with market share growth for 13 consecutive quarters. His departure comes amidst internal strategic shifts, with Boots reaffirming its position in the UK health and beauty market.

Frasers Group, led by Mike Ashley, is in talks to acquire a 50% stake in Exeter’s Princesshay shopping centre from Nuveen and Crown Estate. The deal, valued at around £80m, aligns with Frasers’ strategy to enhance its retail operations. Princesshay, home to over 60 brands, generates significant annual income, making it a strategic acquisition for Frasers Group’s expansion plans.

Ann Summers announces the launch of, an online marketplace focused on lingerie and underwear, set to debut on Jacqueline Gold’s birthday. This move aims to circumvent online restrictions affecting its main website due to adult content. The platform will feature 15 brands initially, including Calvin Klein Underwear and KBX, Ann Summers’ new line, emphasising ethical and inclusive partnerships.


After facing financial strain exacerbated by the pandemic, Smiffy’s, a century-old fancy dress retailer, has been sold to Ad Populum following administration. Ad Populum, known for brands like Neca and Rubies II, LLC, plans to integrate Smiffy’s into its portfolio, which includes extensive reach in the fancy dress and toy markets. The sale marks a new chapter for Smiffy’s amidst challenging retail conditions.

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