Next confirms store reopening plans and a huge clearance sale could be on the way
Retail giant Next had announced its plans for reopening its stores when the coronavirus lockdown is lifted.
In a trading statement, the clothes retailer - which has 500 shops in the UK including seven in Sheffield - says it will be adapting its stores to the new ‘socially distanced world’.
The measures identified so far include the screening of tills, distance marking walkways, sanitisation stations, exit and entry management systems.
Larger out of town stores where social distancing is easier to maintain in the stores and the car parks will be prioritised, they added.
The statement read: “On Thursday 26 March, we temporarily closed our UK warehouses and distribution networks in order to adapt our operations to working safely in a coronavirus world.
“During the 18 days of closure we re-organised all aspects of our warehousing to ensure social distancing and improved sanitation.
“We re-organised the flow of pedestrians, adapted exits, entrances, congregation areas, rest areas and workstations. In addition, we changed our picking routines and delivery promise to smooth workflow during the day and eliminated the peaks in activity most likely to result in close contact between operatives.”
Next warned that it may take ‘some time’ for customers to return to their normal shopping habits and that sales will be ‘very subdued’ when trade commences.
The trading statement also said large amounts of stock which would normally be cleared in the July and January sales will remain unsold.
“The reduction in sales volumes has meant that we have a lot more stock in our warehouses than anticipated,” the statement read.
“This excess stock would have prevented the intake of new stock and inhibited ongoing operations.”
The company said it anticipated this would cost it around £50m.