River Island is 'ready for' lockdown, profits rise
Affordable fashion retailer River Island says it thinks it can cope with the new lockdown as its preparations have put it on the “strongest possible footing”. The company also reported a 10% increase in its operating profits for last year.
In its latest year, it saw operating profits before one-off charges and “onerous leases” rising to £42 million with turnover broadly flat at £880 million, The Times reported.
And while it's upbeat about its operations during the new English lockdown, the company hasn't come out of the challenges that it has faced in 2020 completely unharmed.
The company has around 150 shops globally and its UK locations were shut for 13 weeks during the lockdown this spring.
In the summer it said that it would cut 350 senior jobs and it has also been looking at a number of store closures and negotiating to get rent reductions via a company voluntary arrangement.
But CEO Will Kernan said its investments in digital channels had reduced the overall impact of its store closures and helped to make up for some of the lost revenues.
He added that while 2020 has seen major issues for retailers, the underlying trend away from physical shops has been gaining momentum for some time.
“Today’s retail environment is drastically different to that of 2019, but even before Covid-19, shopping habits and the role of stores were changing quickly,” he said. “As a result, we had already made important changes to ensure that River Island could hold its own in the face of these challenges.”
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