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River Island unveils new store concept ‘River Studios’

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: River Island; 'River Studios'

Fashion chain River Island is launching a new retail concept called ‘River Studios,’ designed to “reinvigorate the modern high street”.

‘River Studios’ will make its debut in Derby’s Derbion shopping centre on August 26 to optimise the high street shopping experience “to fit the future”. The new concept will then roll out to other key locations, added River Island, including Rushden Lakes, Blackpool, Luton, and Thurrock, as part of its ambitious plans to revitalise retail.

The new concept aims to deliver a fresh take on the iconic River Island identity, created by London-based design agency Draw Creative, offering an elevated visual approach that takes cues from the eccentricity and curation of boutique stores.

The interior will present as “a quirky mix of old and new, to create a fresh, unique environment, where natural materials mix with recycled and distressed furnishings and juxtapose with digital content to bring River Studios to life”.

Image: River Island; 'River Studios'

River Island to launch debut ‘River Studios’ store concept in Derby

Will Kernan, chief executive of River Island, said in a statement: “This is an exciting step for River Island as a business and marks the next stage of our continuing journey to elevate the River Island experience for our customers.

“Retail is at its best when it is evolving and adapting to best suit the needs of shoppers, and we are no different. River Studios delivers a modern, seamless experience fit for the high street of today.”

The store will also feature new in-store technology to enhance the customer journey, including smart fitting rooms, which will identify and display products that customers bring in to try, allowing them to request more sizes, choose alternative products and request assistance from one of the in-store stylists, without leaving the fitting room.

In addition, River Island is employing RFID-driven endless aisle technology throughout the store to promote a seamless omni-channel experience by allowing customers the chance to order from the online stock holding in-store. While an additional AI styling tool named ‘Chloe’ will sit on the shop floor, offering customers style advice in exchange for answering a few simple questions.

Image: River Island; 'River Studios'

The ‘River Studios’ stores will also offer digital click and collect points, and staff will take on the role of stylists, allowing time to focus more on providing a real-time, personal level of customer service.

Each ‘River Studios’ store will house a “unique curation” of River Island’s exclusive in-house brands, including RI London, In Other Words, Unplanned and Chelsea Girl.

Kernan added: “Everything about our curated product offering starts and finishes with our in-house design team here in London. As a house of brands, we are able to cater to varying different customer needs, all of which are designed by the River Island team in London.”

Image: River Island; 'River Studios'
River Island
River Studios