British retailer Next restarts online business

BRITISH clothing retailer Next on Tuesday (14) said that it will reopen its online business with additional safety measures to cope with the COVID-19 emergency.

The online operation, which provides over half of Next’s revenue, has been closed since March 26.

The retailer’s stores were shut on March 23, a day before Britain went into lockdown.

Under government guidelines online businesses are allowed to remain open.

“Next has since implemented very extensive additional safety measures and having consulted with colleagues and our recognised union, USDAW, it will re-open online in a very limited way from April 14,” the retailer said.

Initially only categories that customers most need will be offered, such as childrenswear and selected small home items. Other product ranges may be added at a later date.

Next said operations will start with support from staff who are willing and able to safely return to work.

“The idea is to begin selling in low volumes, so that we only need a small number of colleagues in each warehouse at any one time, helping to ensure rigorous social distancing is complied with,” it said.

To achieve these limited volumes, the company will only allow customers to order the number of items that it believes can be picked safely on any given day.

Shares in Next, down 34 per cent, so far in 2020.