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Retail begins to outline re-openings, but Primark keeps its powder dry

John Lewis and Next among retailers confirming plans for easing out of lockdown, but no details yet from Primark.

Retailers have begun to outline the steps they are taking to re-open stores following the government’s announcement on Monday (May 25) that all non-essential stores in England can begin to open their doors from June 15.

Next and John Lewis are among the retailers taking the next steps to cautiously ease out of lockdown, however there’s no word yet on Primark’s plans.

In response to several questions from consumers on Twitter, the retailer would only reply: “With the health and safety of our staff and customers in front of mind, our stores remain closed until further notice.”

Mirror Money also quoted a Primark spokesperson, who confirmed that stores in the UK would only re-open when the retailer was “convinced that it is safe and right to do so”.

“We are closely following all safety advice from government and will treat this as the minimum standard across all our stores,” the spokesperson continued. “We will put in place rigorous health and safety measures including a strict social distancing protocol, providing personal protection for employees and customers and increased in-store cleaning. Of course, this is uncharted territory for us and our high street neighbours, which is why we will continuously monitor our re-openings and our health and safety policies to ensure we are doing the best we can to help protect our people and customers, as we all continue to adapt to the new normal.”

Meanwhile, Next will be re-opening 25 branches on June 15, initially prioritising larger out of town stores where social distancing can be more easily implemented.

Other safety measures – including Perspex screens at the till points, distance markings on the floor and hand sanitiser stations – will also be introduced.

John Lewis will also be undertaking a gradual re-opening programme, starting with its Poole and Kingston department stores on Monday June 15, followed by 11 others on Thursday June 18.

Depending on the response from customers and its Partners to the new ways of operating with respect to social distancing and safety measures, more shops will open throughout the summer.

Branches chosen to re-open have been selected primarily because of their accessibility by car.

Measures will include reducing the number of shop entrances, caps on the number of customers entering stores, prominent social distancing signage, protective screens at checkouts and areas of the shop where two-metre social distancing cannot be achieved, rigorous and frequent cleaning, plus provision of hand sanitiser for customers to use at all entrances.

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