River Island’s move to up its UK production has helped it put new product in-store quicker and contributed to bestsellers, according to reports.
The high street retailer’s chief executive, Ben Lewis, told The Times that River Island had increased the number of items manufactured in the UK by 50% in the last 12 months because of rising labour costs in China. Having a closer connection with factories in the UK had meant River Island was able to get “new fashion” to its customers “much quicker”.
The Times reports Lewis saying: “As a result, some of those products have become absolute bestsellers. We can get more of them and work closely with the factories.”
He added: “In this kind of tough trading environment, having a short line of supply is even more important.”
River Island will focus on using the UK as a production base to facilitate “fast fashion”, playing to the strengths of UK factories and skills.
Drapers has long highlighted the issue of declining manufacturing skills in the UK. Last year, we reported that brands and retailers have begun to look again at UK production bases because of rising labour costs and increased competition for capacity overseas.
Growth, however, has been slowed by a lack of skilled workers, forcing some manufacturers to turn down orders.
Our Save Our Skills campaign, supported by key industry figures as well as The Duke of York, has lobbied for government-supported apprenticeships since launch last March.