// Selfridges to close its UK stores from today as part of a response to the coronavirus pandemic
// Harrods reduced opening hours & closed all its restaurants to protect its customers & 5000 staff
// Selfridges will shut down from 7pm tonight, but its online store will remain open
Selfridges is to temporarily close its UK stores from today as part of a response to the coronavirus pandemic, while rival Harrods has reduced its opening hours.
Aside from its world-famous flagship on Oxford Street in London, the luxury department store also has branches in Birmingham and Manchester.
While the stores will shut down from 7pm tonight, Selfridges said its website will remain open and continue to trade.
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Reports indicate that three employees reportedly tested positive for Covid-18, although this has not been confirmed by Selfridges.
The retailer stated that the “health and wellbeing of our customers and team members is our utmost priority”.
There is no advice on how long the store closures will last.
“It is with a heavy heart that tonight we have made the decision to temporarily close our four physical stores in London, Birmingham and Manchester from 7pm tomorrow evening [Wednesday],” it said in a statement.
“We will continue to serve our global customers through Selfridges.com and across our social channels until we can open our doors again.”
Meanwhile rival luxury department store Harrods has reduced opening hours and closed all its restaurants to protect its customers and 5000 staff.
“With this safety in mind, we have decided that for the first time, Harrods will reduce opening hours from our current hours of 10am–9pm to 11am–7pm until further notice,” it stated.
“Sunday hours will remain the same as usual.”
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of industry group New West End Company which represents 600 retailers and businesses across London’s West End, said: “As we collectively face down the challenge of Covid-19, tough decisions need to be taken to prioritise the safety of staff and customers.
“Over the coming days we expect to see more businesses take pragmatic decisions to reduce opening hours and temporarily close their doors to provide long-term protection for employees and balance sheets.
“West End retail, entertainment and leisure has experienced many challenges and changes over its two century history, and I’m confident it has the strength to return renewed once restrictions are lifted.”