New Look, H&M, Harrods, Zara join growing list of temporary store closures

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New Look, H&M, River Island, The Body Shop, Monsoon, and others join list of retailers temporarily shutting UK stores
With H&M Group, Inditex, New Look, Reiss, River Island, Clarks & Arcadia Group all taking up a significant market share and all closed in the UK for the time being, high streets nationwide are expected to suffer a major blow.
// New Look, H&M, Zara, The Body Shop, River Island, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and others join growing list of retailers shutting UK stores
// Temporary closures are due to coronavirus pandemic, to stop transmission in public places
// Other retailers that have shut UK stores without a government-mandated lockdown include John Lewis, Clarks, Ikea & Topshop

New Look, H&M Group, River Island, Gap and Reiss have joined a rapidly-growing list of retailers temporarily shutting their chain of UK stores as the coronavirus crisis continues.

Other retailers that have closed their stores in recent days include The Body Shop, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Michael Kors, Oasis, Lego, Abercrombie & Fitch, Monsoon, Liberty London, the British Heart Foundation and all the retailers under the Inditex retail empire, like Zara, Pull & Bear and Bershka.

The news comes after the likes of John Lewis, Clarks, Ikea, TK Maxx, Apple, Selfridges, Fenwick, Calvin Klein, Sweaty Betty, Boden, Oxfam and the Arcadia Group retail empire already announced their store closures in a bid to contain the spread of the highly contagious virus.


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However, the vast majority of these retailers have highlighted that customers can still shop with them via their websites, and still have delivery arranged.

It’s also unclear how many of them would be providing full pay for staff – especially shop floor staff – during the closures, although the government announced on Friday it would cover up to 80 per cent of wages for all workers across all industries whose jobs have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

New Look’s temporary closure of all their stores came into affect 5pm on Saturday, a day after it took the same measure in its Irish market.

As with most other fashion retailers, New Look said its newlook.com website would remain in operation during the temporary closures, adding that it had extended its refund policy to 90 days.

In a Twitter post, the retailer said: “These are uncharted territories for all of us and we thank you for your continued support during this time.”

Swedish fashion giant H&M Group also temporarily shuttered its UK stores, meaning the company has now closed all physical outlets in its three biggest markets as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The closures came into affect on March 21 and will remain so for an initial period of two weeks, H&M said in a statement on its website.

H&M also said its returns policy would be extended to 100 days while their online orders will still be fulfilled.

The decision comes after the retailer said last week it would shut all 460 stores in Germany, 590 stores in the US as well as shops in Canada, Portugal and Belgium.

Germany is the H&M Group’s largest market, followed by the US and the UK, where is has around 200 stores.

The firm is the owner of high street chains Arket, Weekday, Cos, H&M Home, & Other Stories, Monki and the eponymous flagship H&M.

“We’ll decide what happens next based on the latest advice from the UK government and the World Health Organisation,” H&M said.

Meanwhile, Spanish fashion giant Inditex took the step to temporarily close all of its stores in the UK on Thursday – a day after it said they would remain open while much of its global markets had already shut, mostly due to government-mandated lockdowns.

Indetix is the parent company of Zara, Bershka, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Stradivarius and Zara Home.

With H&M Group, Inditex, New Look and Arcadia Group – the parent company of Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Evans – all taking up a significant market share of fashion retail and all closed in the UK for the time being, high streets and shopping centres nationwide are expected to suffer a major blow.

Reiss is also set to shut its 90 shops in the UK, but it is not clear when.

Other fashion retailers that have announced a temporary closure of their stores include River Island, Monsoon, Oasis, Warehouse, Lego, Abercrombie & Fitch and Michael Kors.

The Body Shop also said their shops would be all closed, but added it would find ways to get care packages to NHS workers.

Gap has also said they would close for two weeks, announcing on Twitter that they would keep customers posted as they monitored the pandemic.

The British Heart Foundation has also temporarily shut down its chain of charity shops, emulating rival Oxfam which closed its 600-strong stores last week.

Among department stores, Harvey Nichols, Liberty London and Harrods have joined the likes of Fenwick, Selfridges and John Lewis in closing their stores until further notice.

Harvey Nichols runs stores in Birmingham, Bristol, Dublin, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and its iconic Knightsbridge flagship in London.

“In light of UK government guidance regarding Covid-19, we have made the decision to temporarily close our UK and Ireland stores and restaurants,” chief operating office Manju Malhotra said.

Harrods said its world-famous Knightsbridge store was “closing for a while” after ending its last trading on Friday.

However, it would keep its food halls and pharmacy opened, and stressed that none of its 5000 staff members would lose their jobs.

“The welfare of our community of colleagues, customers and partners has been our absolute priority throughout this time of uncertainty,” Harrods managing director Michael Ward said.

Debenhams and House of Fraser are the two remaining major department store chains that have not yet revealed a temporary store closure as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Debenhams already asked landlords for a five-month rent holiday as it faces “unprecedented pressures”.

The department store, which has permanently closed 22 branches since the start of the year, and is set to close 28 more next year, was struggling even before the virus hit and is in the middle of a CVA.

Full list of retailers (so far) that have temporarily shut their UK high street stores:

  • John Lewis
  • Clarks
  • Ikea
  • Arcadia Group (Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Evans)
  • New Look
  • River Island
  • H&M Group (Weekday, Arket, Monki, Cos, H&M Home, & Other Stories, H&M)
  • Inditex (Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Zara Home)
  • TK Maxx
  • Reiss
  • Selfridges
  • Harrods
  • Fenwick
  • Liberty London
  • Harvey Nichols
  • The Body Shop
  • Boden
  • Michael Kors
  • Gap
  • Oasis and Warehouse
  • Monsoon
  • Oxfam
  • The British Heart Foundation
  • Lego
  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Apple
  • Calvin Klein
  • Sweaty Betty

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48 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah, now John Lewis is shut Debenhams might make some money. doesn’t matter that the majority of staff might die, this isn’t flu, this a serious virus that kills.

  2. However Westfield is still opened. After the PM announcement, Westfield management immediately went and wrote to all the shops and restaurants to tell them that they don’t have to close and ENCOURAGING them to remain opened. Even though the common areas to sit are “closed”, the games zone are openeded. People are sitting on the floor to eat take away food and strulling around with no control off access.

  3. However Westfield is still opened. After the PM announcement, Westfield management immediately went and wrote to all the shops and restaurants to tell them that they don’t have to close and ENCOURAGING them to remain opened. Even though the common areas to sit are “closed”, the games zone are openeded. People are sitting on the floor to eat take away food and strulling around with no control of access.

    • My friend works in B & M and they were told because they sell food (some stores now sell frozen) they’re bit like a supermarket and have to stay open unless told otherwise by HR/government.

  4. I’m amazed that the Next sale was allowed to go ahead on Saturday 21st March. Hundreds of people queuing early outside the stores. People not allowed to try clothes on during sales so they’ll buy numerous items, take them home, tty them on, then return unwanted items to the stores. Clothes can’t be washed before returning so, how many people will have sneezed or had a runny nose whilst pulling clothes over their heads trying these items on? Do germs live on the inside of these clothes that are then returned to the Store’s, purchased by different people and potentially returned and retried on, again and again and again. Does anybody know the answer?

  5. All the clothing companies offering online deliveries
    should be ashamed , also hermes are a disgrace ,
    they dont give a damn about the couriers , profit before safety

    • I work for JD sports outdoor division and we are being told to keep our shops open, in my store no staff want to come in as we need to isolate for the sake of others and ourselves but if we don’t open they won’t pay us, absolute greed! All the head office staff are working from home while we’re expected to struggle through to pay their wages!

      • My husband works at the distribution centre for JD and they’ve been told the same – if u take time off its unpaid. Not only that the warehouse has hundreds of workers at any one time all at high risk for contracting the vjirus and taking it home to their families. I’m absolutely fuming and disgusted!

  6. Where would we be without the “Corner shop” in difficult times like these. Food retail is the hardest job with all the laws, policies, due diligence that they have to legally abide by. But you get abrupt, abusive, impatient customers that think you should stand there and serve these people with a smile. Think again. We’re providing you with a service. If it wasn’t for us you wouldn’t be able to eat, keep healthy and protect yourself from any pandemic. Give a thought for people that have to work during these hard times.

  7. Card factory is staying open and there staff are terrified. There is no way they can stay two metres apart from customers and staff. I am working from home and my wife has been for to go into work , how does that work! The Health Minister Matt Hancock said don’t go out if absolutely necessary.

  8. As someone who works in a large “unnecessary” retailer that is remaining open, much to its staffs dismay. Please customers refrain from shopping for anything apart from food In supermarkets. Stop going to by cushions, rugs etc. The only reason retailers are staying open is that silly customers still want to buy silly things. Stay away from shops and they will close. Do it for the staff.

  9. I work for the card factory and they really dont want to close. It’s all about money with them and not their staff. I fear going in for my shifts as the amount of customers that come into our store is terrifying and they do not follow the advice of the government so it’s only making the situation worse! Alot of the other stores around us have already announced there temp closures but we still continue to trade!!

  10. I think the whole of Leeds town should be shut off. Can’t shop any mingle been told to stay home can’t even order online. This Country is in cheos n as far as I’m concerned What is Borris Johnson doing for us….come to think of it does he know what he’s doing???

    One way states plenty food but can’t get items in shop or online so where is their plenty food for the nation. Leeds town Centre is a nightmare might as well as shut every shop there. Who needs dresses n shoes no where to go can’t even go to the gym busses should come off as we’re all restricted to stay home

  11. Just get together and say we are not coming in it’s not a necessity they will be forced to close. If fact Boris should be shutting down all shops apart from supermarkets. I work in a supermarket and worry every day I’m in my 60’s but will not stay at home unless I have to, people need to eat. Stay safe all.

    • Thank you Carole. You and your colleagues are as much heroes as the NHS.Thank you so much for continuing to work so that people like me can shop for food. Big hugs to you xx

  12. It’s OK for company’s to close there stores and say we will keep online sales open but remember who picks these online sales the staff in the distribution centre. Company’s should shut them as well as the stores. Clothes distribution centres don’t need to be open.

  13. What about airport security staff. They don’t have a chose. Flights are still arriving from China and Italy!!

    • This is a joke, No flights from anywhere must be allowed to arrive from China, Italy or anywhere else. The UK should just follow America and pass a law that states; NO ONE IN, NO ONE OUT. If we keep letting planes in, there is likely to be NO END to this crisis

  14. I work for marks @ Spencer’s. Only recently they have brought in hand sanitizer for the staff to use.the staff have asked for deposble gloves. There is not enough cleaning sanetizer to clean tills. And not enough staff to cope with the foot fall coming though our doors every day. And not enough time in between serving customers for the staff to clean the tills. The staff are to worried to speak out.i know we have feed the nation. But for the staff it’s just money in the tills

    • M&S like to be seen to be looking after there staff but they don’t ya should have gloves on masks on they should be insisting on card payments were possible I was in my local Tesco I had to stand the appropriate space between the cashier and the till

  15. All major non essential stores are closing to combat social distancing nhs are doing an excellent job to help prevent the spread I am one of those abiding by the government rules and listening to the nhs staying in doors unless otherwise If necessary i had to buy dog food and essentials what i need not going on transport well done to all those har working nhs staff

  16. I wish people take it seriously. I went to savers to grab some creams for my toddler and was forced to leave without buying any. People are not practising social distancing and the queue was fully packed and they don’t even care about their own health. People kept approaching me from all sides while I was on the queue maintaining distance. They Jumped infront of me assuming I’m not in the queue. I kept going back to distance myself and I didnt see it working . I knew I will not be able to buy anything at all if I was the only one thinking about social distancing and left the items and left the shop.

  17. My husband works at the distribution centre for JD and they’ve been told the same – if u take time off its unpaid. Not only that the warehouse has hundreds of workers at any one time all at high risk for contracting the vjirus and taking it home to their families. I’m absolutely fuming and disgusted!

  18. Hey up! Many everyone keep well! We will get through this together! I’ve not seen my daughter for 6 years AKA HRH daddy loves you xx i still have to work,will my work pay hazard pay if I’m told I still have to work ?

    • Asda George distribution centre in Northampton still open, I don’t understand why this is still open, they have over 500 plus colleagues who work there over different shifts. It’s a death trap no sanitizer left either, it’s a clothing warehouse and is not essential, if I catch the virus it will be from this place. Government need to shut it down.

  19. Hey up! Many everyone keep well! We will get through this together! I’ve not seen my daughter for 6 years AKA HRH daddy loves you xx i still have to work,will my work pay hazard pay if I’m told I still have to work ?

  20. H&M’s distribution centre in Winsford still opened even tho people are just sitting in the canteen, no stock is being sent to the stores because all stores are closed! Managers are laughing at people who are concerned about their safety and the health and safety manager is telling people that the virus only spreads by touch.

  21. JohnLewis distribution is still open with hundreds under one roof. It’s difficult as you want the business to still be OK from all of this but at what cost? Unfortunately those who decided to keep online and risk the staff health, will unlikely never set foot during this period into the warehouse. I love the company but I am thinking its death trap waiting to happen right now and working is terrifying.

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