River Island to axe 250 jobs - report
River Island has become the latest high street name to warn of imminent job losses, it was reported on Tuesday.
According to specialist trade magazines Retail Week and Drapers, the fashion retailer is planning on making 250 head office staff redundant after the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown hurt sales.
Both titles reported that Will Kernan, chief executive of the family-owned business, had written to all staff, telling them that the retailer “has a requirement for some 250 fewer people in the business”.
The internal email reportedly said: “Covid-19 is the most significant challenge in a generation. The pandemic will change our market place 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.”
It is not thought any shop staff will be affected.
Like most retailers, River Island had to close its shops after lockdown measures were introduced at the end of March. It is also believed to have furloughed a number of staff.
River Island, which is owned by the founding Lewis family, was not immediately available for comment.
Other high street brands to recently announce job losses following the Covid-19 crisis include café chains Café Rouge and Bella Italia, and Arcadia, the owner of Top Shop. John Lewis has also warned staff that some stores may not reopen following the lockdown, while last week Harrods announced 700 job cuts.
Although non-essential shops are now allowed to reopen, so far shoppers have proved slow to return to the high street.