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River Island to cut jobs

Published
Jul 8, 2020
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River Island is the latest UK fashion retailer to announce hundreds of redundancies as the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to unfold in the sector.


River Island


The fashion company, which has over 350 stores across the UK, Ireland and internationally, has revealed plans to lay off around 250 staff at its head office.

According to an email sent to staff and seen by Retail Week, CEO Will Kernan said “Covid-19 is the most significant challenge in a generation”. 

“The pandemic will change our marketplace for years to come, so we have acted quickly to reassess our structure, affordability and strategy. As a business we need to be more flexible and, critically, we must remain financially viable despite the potential of significantly reduced sales in the short term,” he said.

The job cuts are expected to be made across all head office departments. All affected staff have already been contacted.

Industry data predicts that thousands of UK retail workers will lose their jobs this year in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Retailers, already facing a shift in consumer behaviour towards online shopping and rising costs, are now battling to preserve liquidity after a decline in sales during the lockdown.

Some are borrowing more money or selling assets but job cuts are a key way to cut significant costs and also to reflect the realities of what could be an extended period of lower sales.

High-end department store Harrods has said it will axe 700 jobs, while Arcadia is looking to cut some 500 roles at its head office.

More job cuts are to be expected as the Government’s furlough scheme begins to taper at the end of the month, ending a programme that protected millions of jobs during the outbreak.

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