According to latest reports, French cosmetics giant L’Oreal is set to sell The Body Shop chain of stores, which it took over in 2006.

The firm said in its annual results statement that it had decided “to explore all strategic options regarding The Body Shop’s ownership”.

L’Oreal said this would give the chain “the best opportunities and full ability to continue its development. No decision has been taken so far.”

The Body Shop has above 3,000 stores in 66 countries and recruited 22,000 people, but has been hurt by the slowdown in sales.

According to 2016 results, total sales were 920.8 million euros, less than 967.2 million euros company posted in 2015, which L’Oreal blamed on market slowdowns in Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile the sales were a little chunk of L’Oreal’s overall 25.8 billion euros of sales for the same period that was more than 25.3 billion euros in 2015.

The French group’s overall operating profit last year was 4.54 billion euros, up from 4.4 billion euros year over year.

Cosmetics retailer, Body Shop was established in 1976 by Dame Anita Roddick, who died in 2007. The company pioneered using natural components for its beauty products when it started out.

Body shop became famous since the start and by the 1980s, it became one of the top brands on the High Street.