// 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.
- Coronavirus: John Lewis to close all 50 stores temporarily
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- Ikea joins list of retailers shuttering stores due to coronavirus
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
- 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
- Liberty London
- Harvey Nichols
- The Body Shop
- Michael Kors
- Oasis and Warehouse
- The British Heart Foundation
- Abercrombie & Fitch
- Calvin Klein
- Sweaty Betty