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Ben Lewis, CEO, River Island

Under Ben Lewis, River Island placed a renewed focus on product and innovating with new categories this year. 

Ben lewis, ceo, river island

Several items that proved a hit with influencers and quickly sold out, among them a brown vinyl trench coat similar to those seen on the autumn 18 catwalks but at a fraction of the price at £85. 

And there was a good reaction to River Island’s 30th anniversary collection in August which honoured its heritage. 

This year the retailer unveiled a “mini-me” baby range and forayed into homeware with a 160-piece collection that includes soft furnishings, furniture, and candles and diffusers.

Further launches are expected in 2019 following Lewis’s appointment of former George at Asda product boss Fiona Lambert as managing director of new business development.

The challenging retail climate took a toll on River Island and, in its most recent financial results for the year to 30 December 2017, operating profit fell by 40% to £80.6m. Turnover was down 2.3% to £944.5m, and Lewis said he retained a cautious outlook. 

However, he has overseen a period of investment in its digital capabilities and stores, as well as the extended product ranges, all of which should set River Island up for long-term growth. 

 

 

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