Now a familiar sight on Britain’s high streets, the River Island fashion chain began life as a wool and womenswear shop in London’s East End. It now operates 220 stores and franchises across Britain, mainland Europe and the Middle East, and continues to expand internationally. The business, known as Chelsea Girl from 1968 to 1988, had operating profits of £110m in 2004 on sales of £595m. The family-owned company is still based in London and chaired by founder Bernard Lewis, whose son Clive is chief executive.
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