// Next will reopen its website this week
// Over 3000 workers have volunteered to go back to work
// The website closure has allowed Next to reorganise its warehouses
Next is reportedly planning on reopening its website this week after a two-week shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The fashion retailer made the decision to stop taking online orders after concerns about the health and safety of warehouse workers were raised.
Next now aims to implement new rules for safe working after “an unbelievable amount of planning” and an induction programme for returning staff, Mail on Sunday reported.
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Over 3000 employees have volunteered to go back to work, although only a fraction are expected to return this week.
Meanwhile, additional safety measures drawn up in consultation with staff and backed by shop worker union Usdaw include clear one-way systems and new walkways at its warehouses.
Next had announced the temporary closure of its website, warehouse and distribution operations on March 27, following the government’s announcement to close all non-essential shops earlier that week.
The retailer said that the decision to temporarily close its website has allowed the business to reorganise its warehouses and enable social distancing measures.
Next said its operations will start with the support of workers who are willing to return to the company.
It added that the website relaunch will take place in stages, with the idea being to initially sell in low volumes so that only a small number of colleagues are needed in each warehouse at any one time.
The retailer is also planning on limiting the number of items sold each day to volumes which can be achieved safely.
Earlier this month, Next said it was seeking buyers for its headquarters and three warehouses in a bid to raise up to £100 million to combat the temporary closures of its stores and website prompted by the coronavirus crisis.
The fashion retailer appointed property agent Savills to search for a buyer for its head office in Leicester, and property agent Acre to oversee the disposal of three warehouses.