Retail news round-up: River Island refuses windfall, how to create more retail jobs and Sainsbury’s to stop digital entertainment business.
River Island family declines multimillion-pound dividend
The River Island family has shunned a multimillion-pound windfall in order to increase investment in the fashion retailer’s online and IT systems.
Chief executive Ben Lewis told The Daily Telegraph that its board has decided to focus on investing profits back into the business amid a challenging time for the retail sector.
River island reported £123m in pre-tax profits before a £29m interest charge for the year to December 26, compared with £148m in the prior year.
Operating profits dropped from £146.6m to £145.8m during the period as sales totalled £932.7m last year.
“We are investing heavily in technology and people against a backdrop of a very challenging environment. Consumers are shifting their behaviours and they expect retailers to be multichannel,” Lewis said.
BRC says innovative ways in working would create more retail jobs
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has found that “innovative ways of working will also create tens of thousands of new types of jobs in the retail industry”, despite an expected decline in the overall number of employees in the coming years.
Jobs could include digital artworkers, online merchandisers and personal stylists, akin to Rebecca Corbin-Murray, who is stylist to actress Lily James, revealed the Journey to Better Jobs report.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Retailers have always been quick to adapt to the changing competitive environment, but the fact that over the coming five years they will create more jobs in new roles than Google employs worldwide shows just what fantastic opportunities retail offers in all kinds of roles.”
Amazon found guilty of shipping dangerous goods by air
The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said a Southwark crown court in south London has found etailer Amazon UK Services guilty of shipping dangerous goods to and from the country by air, The Guardian reported.
The items included lithium-ion batteries and flammable aerosols, which were flown in and out of the UK between January 2014 and June 2015.
An Amazon spokesman said: “The safety of the public, our customers, employees and partners is an absolute priority. We ship millions of products every week and are confident in the sophisticated technologies and processes we have developed to detect potential shipping hazards. We are constantly working to further improve and will continue to work with the CAA in this area.”
Sainsbury’s to discontinue its digital entertainment business
Sainsbury’s plans to move away from its digital entertainment business and will be deploying its e-book operations to Kobo, an online bookseller and maker of e-readers, owned by Japan’s Rakuten, the TechCrunch reported.
The supermarket’s digital brand, which is promoted as Sainsbury’s Entertainment on Demand, also comprises music, movies and TV shows and magazines, alongside e-books.
Kobo states that existing customers who have bought e-books from Sainsbury’s can transfer them to a Kobo library to continue reading and owning them.
Furthermore, Sainsbury’s customers will get notification by October 25 with a unique code and instructions of what to do to continue accessing their existing libraries.
The supermarket will be completely discontinuing its digital service on December 1.
Rakuten Kobo president and chief executive officer Michael Tamblyn said: “We look forward to welcoming Sainsbury’s customers to read with Kobo. They will be able to cherish the books they currently have for years to come as well as add new ones with personalised recommendations and expert selections to suit each and every book lover.”