The Body Shop looks set to appoint administrators this week, putting stores in Watford, St Albans and Hatfield at risk of closure.

The cosmetics retailer was bought by private equity firm Aurelius just weeks ago, but reports claim that trading over the key Christmas period and January was not as strong as first hoped.

FRP Advisory is likely to be appointed as the administrator in the coming days, and while BBC News claims The Body Shop is unlikely to disappear from the high street, store closures are a possibility.

The retailer has 200 stores nationwide, with three Hertfordshire stores in St Albans, Atria Watford, and an outlet store at The Galleria in Hatfield, which could all be at risk.

The Body Shop was founded in Brighton in 1976 by Anita Roddick, an environmental campaigner, activist and entrepreneur who owned the business for 30 years until selling it to L’Oréal in 2006.

By this time, the retailer had become synonymous with its ethical beliefs, including a refusal to stock products tested on animals and a sourcing natural ingredients, but the £652 million deal came under criticism as it was seen as a departure from company values.