A POPULAR retailer has closed its doors in Cwmbran, and could be replaced by an outlet serving food and drink.

The Body Shop, which was located at a premises in Monmouth Square in the town centre, shut its doors to customers on January 15, before handing the store back to the landlord just 10 days later.

It comes as the UK-based cosmetics firm decided against renewing its lease.

At this time, it is not known how many staff members were working at the store at the time of closure, though a spokesperson for the company has told the Argus that employees at the Cwmbran store have been in a period of consultation over the last few weeks, “to discuss job opportunities elsewhere within the business”.

While the retailer also offers an online webstore, fans of the brand now have to travel to Cardiff, Caerphilly, or Bristol for their nearest in-store shopping experience.

This is not the first time in recent memory that The Body Shop has dealt Gwent with a body blow.

In September 2020, they permanently closed their Newport Friars Walk branch, where they had traded since the very opening of the shopping centre.

News that The Body Shop has left Cwmbran undoubtably comes as a blow to the town’s high street – though there is some suggestion that it might not stay empty for long.

Former Body Shop unit – what happens next?

This week (Monday, February 7), a planning application was submitted to Torfaen County Borough, which, if approved, could pave the way to bring the now-empty shop back into use.

According to planning documents, submitted by D2 Planning Limited, the proposal would see the permitted use of the premises change from Class A1 for shops and retail, to Class A3 food and drink.

If approved, this would allow a café, restaurant, or takeaway to set up shop within the premises.

However, it is not yet known which business, if any, is interested in the site, or if it is an application simply to make the site more attractive to future tenants.

More information about this planning application can be found here.

What has been said about the closure?

A spokesperson for The Body Shop confirmed the news to the Argus with the following statement: “The Cwmbran store closed for trade on January 15, and we handed back the store to the landlord on January 25.

“We regularly review our store portfolio performance which led to the decision not to renew the lease of The Body Shop in Cwmbran.

“The Body Shop has been in consultation over the last few weeks with the members of the store team to discuss job opportunities elsewhere within the business. Valued customers can still purchase their favourite products by shopping online (www.thebodyshop.com) and via the The Body Shop At Home.”