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Profits soar 70% at River Island

River Island has announced a 69.4% increase in pre-tax profits to £149.1m for the year to December 27, as turnover increased 10.4% to £925.8m.

The rise in profits comes after the chain invested in opening flagship stores in the UK and abroad, and in its IT systems, which caused a 10% dip in profits the year before.

The high street chain has expanded into South America and opened its first stores in the region in Santiago, Chile, and Lima, Peru, two weeks ago.

Last year River Island opened in Estonia, Malta, the Philippines and South Africa. It is also further expanding in the UK, Sweden, Holland and the Middle East. It has 248 UK stores.

Mobile traffic, excluding tablets, for the year was up 48% and click and collect sales increased by 32%. The high street chain also launched its ‘Style Studio’ personal styling services at its Birmingham Bullring store and London Oxford Street stores during the year.

Ben Lewis, chief executive of River Island, said the firm was “cautiously optimistic” for autumn.

“River Island has always had a strong focus on design and great product, and our continued investment in this has boosted sales over the past year. We are very much a multichannel retailer and increasing number of our customers are using all three channels-app, online, store- together to complete their shopping journey, although we are also seeing record levels of mobile traffic.”

He added: “While the consumer outlook is improving slightly, we are planning cautiously and making sure that we are in a strong position in terms of having the right product, and offering a great experience in-store and online. We will continue to invest and innovate in the business to develop our world class multichannel fashion brand.”

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