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More Retailers Respond to Shifting Pandemic Situation

02 April 2020 - 11:00 by Graham Miller

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With each passing day there is fresh advice and action surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, although retailers still have a degree of leeway with regards to how they handle their operations, especially when it comes to coordinating efforts to fulfil orders placed via safe shopping online.

While some fashion brands have chosen to stop offering e-commerce services to customers over fears for staff in their distribution and delivery chains, ASOS has taken a different stance, arguing that its own warehouse conditions are suitably safe for employees thanks to new policies instigated to allow for social distancing in the workplace.

At the other end of the spectrum, Matalan has provided confirmation that members of its warehouse team will be able to accept a furlough deal, meaning that they can continue to receive a salary while staying at home to avoid the spread of the virus. This move has been welcomed by union representatives, although it is worth noting that this is not a mandatory move and staff can still go into work if they wish.

The evolution of the food situation following the imposition of movement restrictions on the British public has continued this week, with Aldi announcing that it was removing some of the more stringent policies it had put in place to prevent panic buying. Customers can now buy as many of certain products as they wish but will be stopped from over-spending on the likes of long-life milk and hand-sanitising gel.

It is interesting to see the different strategies that retailers are adopting to deal with the coronavirus in the UK. Time will tell if specific tactics are more beneficial than others, although there is no doubt that the entire retail sector will need support to survive the lockdown and its aftermath.