British fashion stalwart Next announced it had resumed selling online (on 14th April) three weeks after suspending operations because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
However on day one of resumed trading the Next website had to stop taking orders after a matter of hours saying: “In order to operate our warehouse safely, we are limiting the number of warehouse colleagues working at any time, and so we will limit the number of customer orders we can take each day.”
Next temporarily closed its ecommerce, warehouse and distribution operations at the start of the European coronavirus crisis, saying it did not want to endanger staff.
According to Next, it has “implemented very extensive additional safety measures” after consulting with its staff and unions and had “successfully tested opening and taking a limited number of orders” over the Easter weekend.
However Next said it was relaunching gradually, beginning with categories that “customers most need”, including childrenswear and homewares.
A special ‘How we are working for you‘ feature on the Next website explains in detail the safety measures being taken to protect staff.
Schuh also back online for sales
Footwear specialist Schuh has also re-booted online trading after putting in place “exhaustive welfare measures” to protect staff from coronavirus.
All of its fulfilment centres will be operating with 10 staff or less on-site at any one time, staff will have to stand two metres apart and all staff will have access to work station cleaning kits and hand sanitiser stations.
Schuh made the decision to temporarily cease online trading on March 26, following “contradictory government advice” on the issue of whether or not non-essential retailers should continue their ecommerce operations.
Both retailers have said that resuming their online operations has been critical to business survival. It’s likely that other retail brands will follow suit in the coming weeks.
Post lockdown plan needed says CBI
The CBI business body today called on the Government to start thinking ahead to devise a post-lockdown plan for restarting the economy.
Rain Newton-Smith, CBI chief economist, said: “The need for coordinated global action to rebuild confidence has rarely been greater.
“The Government will also need to work with businesses and many parts of civil society here at home, to create a plan to revive the economy once the lockdown is lifted.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned lifting restrictions too early “could lead to a deadly resurgence” of the novel coronavirus.