A POPULAR retailer has closed in Cwmbran and may be replaced by an outlet serving food and drink.
The Body Shop, which was located in premises in Monmouth Square in the town centre, closed its doors to customers on January 15, before handing the store back to the owner just 10 days later.
It comes as the UK-based cosmetics company decided not to renew its lease.
At this time, it is not known how many staff were working in the store at the time of the closure, although a company spokesperson told the Argus that employees at the Cwmbran store have been in a consultation period for the past few weeks, “to discuss employment opportunities elsewhere in the company”.
While the retailer also offers an online store, fans of the brand now have to travel to Cardiff, Caerphilly or Bristol for their nearest in-store shopping experience.
It’s not the first time in recent memory that The Body Shop has dealt a body blow to Gwent.
In September 2020, they permanently closed their Newport Friars Walk branch, where they had been trading since the mall itself opened.
The news that The Body Shop has left Cwmbran is undoubtedly a blow to the town’s high street – although some suggest it won’t remain empty for long.
Former Body Shop unit – what happens next?
This week (Monday 7 February) a planning application was submitted to the County Borough of Torfaen which, if approved, could pave the way for the now empty store to be brought back into use.
According to planning documents, submitted by D2 Planning Limited, the proposal would see the permitted use of the premises changed from class A1 for shops and retail to class A3 for food and drink.
If approved, it would allow a cafe, restaurant or takeaway service to set up on the premises.
However, it is not yet known which company, if any, is interested in the site, or if it is simply a bid to make the site more attractive to future tenants.
You can find more information about this planning application here.
What did we say about the closure?
A spokesperson for The Body Shop confirmed the news to Argus with the following statement: “The Cwmbran store closed on January 15 and we returned the store to the owner on January 25.
“We regularly review the performance of our store portfolio, which led to the decision not to renew The Body Shop’s lease in Cwmbran.
“The Body Shop has been in consultation over the past few weeks with members of the store team to discuss employment opportunities elsewhere in the business. Valued customers can still purchase their favorite products by shopping online (www .thebodyshop.com) and through The Body Shop At Home.