Next will reopen its ecommerce operations today after closing its distribution centre for more than two weeks due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
On 26 March, the retailer was among the first to announce its online operations would close due to employee concerns.
However, Next will today reopen its online operations having introduced new safety measures including clear one-way systems and new walkways in its warehouses after consultation with its employees.
More than 3,000 employees have already volunteered to come back to work.
The relaunch will take place in stages with the website initially open for a restricted number of hours and offering a limited range of clothing. Initial categories made available to order include kidswear and a small selection of home items.
To achieve limited volumes, Next will only allow customers to order the number of items that it believes can be picked safely on any given day. When this limit is reached the retailer will stop taking online orders and convert the website to ‘browse only’ until the following morning.
Next’s increased warehouse safety measures include:
- One way systems and new walkways to ensure safe movement around the site
- Making changes to the allocation of work to ensure the two-metre distancing rule is rigorously maintained
- Providing the required sanitisation equipment and ensuring all necessary equipment is safe for use
- A confidential and anonymous whistleblowing helpline, which has always been in place, will be maintained to report any breaches or concerns to senior management
Next is asking that those employees who have or are living with someone with coronavirus symptoms, are classified or living with someone classified as vulnerable or cannot travel to work safely do not return at present.
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