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River Island profits slump after it invest in tech & services

Lauretta Roberts
19 September 2019

River Island has revealed that profits fell from £80.6 million to £35.1 million last year after the high street fashion chain invested cash in improving technology & services.

Sales also dropped from £944.5 million to £919.7 million in the year to the end of December 2018. Online and wholesale revenues were, however, up.

CEO Ben Lewis explained: “Quite simply, it is more expensive to maintain our level of service to our customers and we have to work harder just to stand still.

“As we evolve and adapt to our customers’ ever-changing needs, we will continue to invest for the long term in important areas such as product, technology, stores, service and our people.”

Lewis, who will stand down at the end of the month to be replaced by Will Kernan of Wiggle, said the chain remained committed to high street stores, however he warned that landlords needed to review rents.

“Unless rents fall, and they are falling in some places, retailers will close stores or not open. Landlords need to pay serious attention to that. What we’re interested in are fair terms. Then there’s the rates piece – it’s inequitable and not proportionate,” he added.

Lewis, who is a member of the founding family of the group, will step back to become a non-executive director upon Kernan's arrival.

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