Fears over jobs at River Island stores

PUBLISHED: 17:45 14 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:45 14 August 2020

River Island in Ipswich. Picture: NEIL PERRY

River Island in Ipswich. Picture: NEIL PERRY


Suffolk jobs are at risk as River Island is set to cut 350 jobs as part of a major store management shake-up.

The high street fashion retailer – which has stores in Sailmakers Shopping Centre in Ipswich and at the Arc Shopping Centre in Bury St Edmunds – told staff it intends to slash store management and senior sales roles as part of a restructure of its retail team.

The move comes just a month after it had already said it would cut 250 head office staff as part of cost-cutting measures.

MORE: Claims of more job losses at Debenhams stores in Ipswich and Colchester

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River Island has seen revenues and profitability hit by a slump in store footfall after reopening sites following the coronavirus lockdown.

Chief executive Will Kernan told staff in an internal memo that the changes will create a “flatter management structure with a greater emphasis on customer service”.

He said: “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.

“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.”

River Island has around 300 stores across the UK and has reportedly eyed a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) or other form of insolvency to reduce its rent costs in a bid to save money.

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