River Island to cut 350 jobs in corporate shake-up

Troubled retailer River Island is cutting a further 350 management jobs from its headquarters. The news comes just a few weeks after the company announced it would be letting go of 250 head office staff as a cost-cutting measure due to the coronavirus pandemic and a significant reduction in footfall.

In an internal memo, seen by London freesheet City AM, chief executive Will Kernan said River Island was in “the process of restructuring our retail teams by simplifying our store management structures”.

“We need to make sure we have the right structures in place to deliver our omnichannel strategy, and to continue to deliver the amazing River Island in-store experience that our customers know and love,” he said.

The jobs cuts will impact store management and senior sales roles

“With a heavy heart, I can confirm that these changes will potentially impact up to 350 store management and senior sales roles.

Whilst this is an incredibly difficult decision, these actions are crucial to ensure that our stores continue to effectively play their hugely important role in our omnichannel future.

By making these changes, we will create a flatter management structure with a greater emphasis on customer service and a seamless experience whether online or in-store.”

Nigel Frith, a senior market analyst at www.asktraders.com, commented: “River Island has been a team player on our high streets for years, but just like any other retail store, they are having to go through reconstruction phrases to make sure they even have a strong chance of keeping afloat. Although River Island had said that the global pandemic has been one of the hardest challenges the brand has ever had to face, it’s not too much of a shock as they were losing stores regionally across the nation even before the virus started to spread. Just like Accessorize, Debenhams, Laura Ashley, Quiz, Victoria’s Secret and many other well-known names, the retail market is suffering the most now because of potential losses even before the pandemic.

What is also very worrying however, is how brands aren’t acting quick enough to save their employees. Yes, putting stock online might just give the company enough time to get through the pandemic and help with figures when it comes to their next earnings, but what about the brands’ employees? Realistically, who is there for them?”

River Island currently operates 300 stores across the UK and has reportedly considered a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) or other form of administration.

Image via River Island





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