// Ted Baker, Moss Bros, The Works, The Entertainer the latest to temporarily close UK stores due to coronavirus pandemic
// Others that have confirmed temporary closures include Ann Summers, Beaverbrooks, Watches of Switzerland, Crew Clothing
// Fortnum & Mason & Carpetright announce partial closures. F&M’s food halls in Piccadilly flagship remain open
Ted Baker, Moss Bros, The Works, The Entertainer and several others have become the latest batch of retailers announcing temporary store closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, the likes of Fortnum & Mason and Carpetright have revealed they will partially close. (Scroll to bottom of article for up-to-date list of retailers that have closed)
The news comes as the UK retail industry continues to be battered from a crisis induced by the pandemic, with shoppers deserting high streets and shopping centres amid government advice to stay or work from home in a bid to stem the rapid spread of Covid-19.
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In an update to the stock market this morning, Ted Baker said the vast majority of its stores globally have now closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Ted Baker said 384 of its 416 stores globally – more than 90 per cent of its estate – have now been closed until further notice.
These stores accounted for 68 per cent of sales during the last financial year.
A spokesperson confirmed with Retail Gazette that Ted Baker’s store estate in the UK were part of the global store closures, although concessions remained open in the instances that they were located with stores that are still open.
It comes after Ted Baker issued a statement after the stock market closed on Friday stating that an initial 197 of its stores and concessions globally had temporarily closed, due to lockdown measures in the US, Canada, France, Spain, Germany, Portugal and Belgium as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Moss Bros has temporary closed all its stores – less than two weeks after accepting a takeover offer from the owners of rival clothing chain Crew Clothing.
Crew Clothing itself also closed all of its 82 stores in the UK until further notice.
Brigadier Acquisition, a vehicle of Crew Clothing owner Michael Shina, had announced its agreed 22p per share/£22.6 million cash offer of Moss Bros March 12.
In the jewellery sector, both Watches of Switzerland and Beaverbrooks announced they would temporarily shut their stores due to the pandemic.
Watches of Switzerland said it was trading well prior to the coronavirus outbreak, with like-for-likes up 12 per cent year-on-year on the back of a 16.8 per cent jump in group sales during the seven weeks to March 15.
However, it warned that the pandemic meant sales would be hit and now expected total revenue for the year to April 26 to be in the range of £809 million to £812 million – compared to prior forecasts of £891 million.
Watches of Switzerland closed all of its stores in both the US and the UK, and said it expected store closures to continue into its new financial year, which starts on April 27.
To offset lost store sales, it has slashed discretionary expenditure, reduced working capital and delayed any capital-intensive projects.
“Our priority is the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and customers during these unprecedented times,” chief executive Brian Duffy said.
“We are taking the necessary steps to mitigate and minimise the impact of this crisis on our business.
“We remain confident in the strong fundamentals that underpin the luxury watch category including its great value preservation.
“Demand remains strong and we anticipate that this will be the case when the market returns to more normal conditions.”
Rival jewellery retailer Beaverbrooks said it would all temporarily close down all 69 of its UK stores from 5pm tonight.
“The safety and wellbeing of our customers, our colleagues and the wider community remain our top priority and we want to do what’s best by them,” the firm said in a statement.
“So it is with an extremely heavy heart that we’ve taken the decision to close all of our 69 stores from 5pm Monday 23rd March.
“This decision will obviously greatly affect our hundreds of store colleagues, our Beaverbrooks family, and supporting them is our number one focus right now.”
Meanwhile, Ann Summers closed all its stores and agreed to give staff full pay until at least the end of April.
Yet much like almost every other retailer that has closed their high street stores, it continues to trade online.
The Entertainer also announced plans to close its 172 stores across the UK due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The toy retailer said all stores will close at 5pm this evening (March 23) until further notice, with customers directed to shopping online.
On the other hand, The Works said that in the nine weeks to March 15, it experienced a 2.9 per cent uptick in like-for-like sales.
It added that last week, despite declining high street footfall, the arts & crafts, toy and stationery retailer experienced “a significant uplift in sales, both in stores and online”.
It credited this soaring demand for home-schooling-related products and mindfulness material to help “beat the boredom” as Brits increasingly follow advice to stay home during the pandemic.
However, The Works said it would now close all of its stores from tonight, but customers can still shop online.
It also revealed measures to help manage its cost base and cashflows during the pandemic, such as slashing discretionary operational expenditure and suspending all non-essential capital investment – which includes the new store rol lout programme.
The Works is also the latest retailer to reveal it was in discussions with landlords regarding measures to reduce net cash outflow on store rents while the stores are closed, while also warning that it did not expect to declare a dividend payout for shareholders for the year ending April 26.
“Given the continued uncertainty as a result of Covid-19, the board does not believe it appropriate to provide guidance for the financial years ending April 2020 or April 2021 at this time,” The Works said in a statement.
While retailers are mostly going all-out and closing their full store estate, some have implemented partial closures.
Carpetright closed all of its smaller high street stores today, but said its retail park locations – where social distancing is easier to adhere to – remain open, albeit on reduced trading hours.
It has also stopped accepting new appointments for home flooring surveyors.
Meanwhile, luxury department store Fortnum & Mason said it would only keep the food halls of its Piccadilly flagship open, while its online website will continue to be operational for food, drink and hamper deliveries worldwide.
“Our reputation has always been built on the foundation of supplying quality food to our customers,” the heritage retailer said.
“Therefore our Food Halls (G & LG) remain open, ready to serve the many local residents that rely on Fortnum’s for their food shopping, but the upper floors have been temporarily closed.
“For any local residents that are self-isolating or unable to come to us, we will do our best to deliver to you.”
While many retailers have not made it clear how they would support affect shop floor staff during temporary store closures, they may take the government up on its recently-announced offer to cover up to 80 per cent of wages for any job that has been affected by the pandemic.
The latest tranche of temporary store closures follows similar moves from a raft of other retailers – including H&M Group, Primark, Waterstones, Debenhams, John Lewis, Arcadia Group, Inditex, New Look and Edinburgh Woollen Group.
The government has not yet ordered a lockdown for the retail sector specifically, as it has done so for the hospitality and leisure sectors, but speculation is rife that an announcement is imminent.
Full list of retailers (so far) that have temporarily shut their UK high street stores:
- Ted Baker
- The Works
- Moss Bros
- Ann Summers
- Watches of Switzerland
- Fortnum & Mason (except for food hall)
- Crew Clothing
- Carpetright (partial)
- Charles Tyrwhitt
- The White Company
- Mint Velvet
- Kurt Geiger
- Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group (Jaeger, Austin Reed, Peacocks, Bonmarche, Jane Norman, Ponden Home, Edinburgh Woollen Mill)
- 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
- Urban Outfitters
- Oasis and Warehouse
- The British Heart Foundation
- Abercrombie & Fitch
- Calvin Klein
- Sweaty Betty