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River Island said to be preparing US store opening

By Rachel Douglass

26 Sept 2022

Retail

Image: River Island

According to its chief executive officer, River Island is reportedly preparing to open its first store in the US after it experienced a bounce back following the pandemic.

Speaking to This is Money, CEO of the British retailer Will Kernan had said the retailer’s online demand had “soared” across various US States, with sales in the region now several times higher than in 2019.

“We see it as a major growth opportunity,” Kernan told the publication. “Even though the brand is not well known in certain parts of the US, what’s interesting is that the product is resonating strongly.”

Next to its online store, the retailer also sells through Nordstrom department stores within the market and has garnered a number of celebrity endorsements.

Kernan said its “long-term” strategy will involve developing the brand and understanding the market more before it ultimately launches a store.

The news follows a company “reset” which it underwent in 2019, and involved reducing lead times and broader product ranges.

During the pandemic, the retailer experienced a number of financial issues, leading it to cut 350 management jobs, with reports at the time also stating it was possibly considering UK store closures.

However, in 2021 River Island swung to an operating profit of 73.5 million pounds, up from a loss of 36.2 million pounds in 2020, as it looked towards a more upbeat recovery.

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