The future of The Body Shop is in jeopardy as its owner looks set to call in administrators this week.

Founded in Brighton by Anita Roddick, it is understood that private equity firm Aurelius, which bought the company in November for £207 million, will appoint administrators for the company’s UK operation.

A number of The Body Shop’s roughly 200 stores are expected to close, but it is unclear how many could shut.

The Argus: The Body Shop first opened in North Laine in BrightonThe Body Shop first opened in North Laine in Brighton

Dame Anita started The Body Shop from a single store in Kensington Gardens in the heart of North Laine in 1976, becoming well-known for its ethical trading practices and cruelty-free ingredients.

She opened another shop the following year and had grown to 138 stores by 1984, with several in other countries.

Dame Anita, who was born in Littlehampton, sold the business to L'Oréal in 2006 for £652 million, but attracted criticism for their links to animal testing.

She died the following year in Chichester at the age of 64 after suffering from a brain haemorrhage.

The Body Shop has one store in Brighton, located in North Street, as well as a branch in George Street in Hove.

The company also has six other stores across Sussex, with shops in Worthing, Horsham, Eastbourne, Crawley, Chichester and Hastings.