Matalan has begun reopening stores in retail parks across England this week.
The retailer said it started to open following a change in government guidance on 1 May that included homeware as essential retail in England.
A total of 15 stores have reopened this week after they initially closed in mid-March. Drapers understands 417 staff have returned to work, and have been taken off the government’s furlough scheme.
However, Drapers also understands that 168 Matalan stores could reopen as a result of this interpretation of government advice. They are all in retail parks or are standalone stores where Matalan has control over the car park.
Matalan has 232 stores across the UK.
The retailer said it had carried out rigorous in-store testing and consultation with customers and colleagues before taking the decision to reopen, and the 15 stores will operate with enhanced health and safety measures, and compliace with social-distancing rules. All employees will be provided with PPE (personal protective equipment).
A Matalan spokeswoman said: “We will initially be reopening our spacious stores with large homeware departments, and a click and collect service.
“These stores are all located on out-of-town retail parks, with parking outside, enabling us to effectively adhere to social-distancing guidelines. High street stores, stores in shopping centres, our clearance stores and our stores in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales will remain closed.”
Stores reopening include:
- Bradford Green Gates
- Leeds Halton
- Milton Keynes
- Osterley Park/Southall
- Walsall - North
It follows reports that Matalan was seeking £50m in funding from its existing lenders to prevent the retailer running out of cash.