With a surge of consumer demand amid the COVID-19 lockdown, Next reached its daily self-imposed limit for eCommerce activity soon after reopening its online business on Tuesday (April 13). The U.K. clothing retailer’s website had re-launched its site for selected products like small home items and childrenswear, Reuters reported.
Next closed its retail locations on March 23, a day prior to the U.K. going into lockdown. It stopped its eCommerce business on March 26, with pressure from warehouse staffers concerned about their wellness. The retailer said it had reopened part of its online operations following “very extensive additional safety measures” and discussions with workers as well as its recognized union.
Next will only allow orders for the quantity of products it believes can be safely picked and packed by employees. When it reaches that limit, it will stop accepting orders for the day and will change the website to “browse only” status. The retailer also said it has “completely re-organized” the operations of its warehouses to allow for strict social distancing. It has also implemented policies like enhanced sanitation and the ability for safe movement when coming into, moving through and leaving each site.
Next noted that operations will begin pending the availability of staffers who want to go back to work and have the ability to do so without using mass transit. A representative said that over 3,000 volunteers had already offered to go back to work and would receive bonuses.
In separate online shopping news, a new survey discovered that Walmart Inc. saw its year-on-year eCommerce grocery sales skyrocket in March to reach almost $900 million. The retailer’s March sales were reportedly up 21 percent from February. Walmart attributed the spike to strong demand for products as shoppers stocked up amid the coronavirus pandemic. Hand sanitizer, alcohol, toilet paper and cough and cold remedies were said to be among the top-selling items.