Next shuts web­site as fash­ion faces sales wipe­out

The Guardian - - News Coronaviru­s - Zoe Wood

Next has taken the “dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion” to close its web­site as the coro­n­avirus shut­down threat­ens to wipe more than £11bn off fash­ion sales this year.

With all high street cloth­ing spe­cial­ists forced to shut this week, an­a­lysts at Glob­alData think the amount that Bri­tons will spend on clothes and shoes will tum­ble by 20% – or £11.1bn – in 2020. That is a fall equiv­a­lent to the com­bined an­nual cloth­ing sales of the three mar­ket lead­ers Pri­mark, Marks & Spencer and Next.

Amid a grow­ing back­lash against re­tail­ers who con­tin­ued to sell on­line, Next said it had stopped tak­ing on­line or­ders “un­til fur­ther no­tice”. The firm said it had “lis­tened very care­fully to its col­leagues work­ing in ware­hous­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion op­er­a­tions to ful­fil on­line or­ders. It is clear that many in­creas­ingly feel they should be at home in the cur­rent cli­mate.”

Yes­ter­day the high street chain River Is­land and the lux­ury fash­ion re­tailer Net-A-Porter also said they

were closing their web­sites. River Is­land said it would ful­fil ex­ist­ing web or­ders but would not process any new ones as it be­gan closing down its dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre in Mil­ton Keynes. Its chief ex­ec­u­tive, Will Ker­nan, said it had made some “dif­fi­cult choices” to pro­tect the health of staff.

High street names in­clud­ing M&S, Pri­mark and Next have al­ready warned of heavy con­se­quences as the UK is forced to stop shop­ping.

Yes­ter­day the rat­ings agen­cies Moody’s and Stan­dard & Poor’s (S&P) both cut M&S’s in­vest­ment rat­ing to junk. S&P said Covid-19 re­lated high street re­stric­tions would “ma­te­ri­ally re­duce sales in its cloth­ing and home di­vi­sion” which would only be par­tially mit­i­gated by on­line sales and the an­tic­i­pated re­silience of its food halls.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.