Fenwick closes its stores from 6pm today (March 19) until further notice in order to help mitigate the potential spread of coronavirus. Yesterday evening Selfridges closed its stores temporarily. Meanwhile Dunelm is among major retailers that have issued personal messages to reassure customers.
In a message to customers, Fenwick states that: ‘The doors of Fenwick have been open to customers for almost 140 years – it goes against everything in our nature to close them. But these aren’t normal times and we find ourselves in the unique situation where shutting our doors, for the time being, is the right thing to do for our customers, our colleagues and our communities.’ The retailer continues to trade online, with its current mid season sale in full swing.
Selfridges tweeted that it had made the decision to close temporarily ‘with a heavy heart’, stating: ‘We must do the right thing by the communities in which we live and work to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.’
Nick Wilkinson, ceo of Dunelm has sent a personal message to customers, saying that the chain ‘will remain open for as long as we feel confident that we can give you the level of service you’ve come to expect, while also safeguarding the health and wellbeing of all our customers and colleagues.’ He reassures customers of an increased hygiene regime and that there is a new ‘deliver to car’ service for Click and Collect shoppers.
John Lewis Partnership has no close plans to close stores and is following advise from Public Health England), and is assuring customers of its increased hygiene procedures. It has also announced plans to support consumers in self-isolation with, for example, online cookery classes.
Meanwhile in the US and Canada, housewares chain Williams-Sonoma is among those retailers that have the temporarily closed all of its stores, planning to reopen on April 2. Laura Alber, president and chief executive officer, commented, “Times like these remind us all that community comes first. Our thoughts are with all of the people affected by this devastating outbreak around the globe.”
Top: View of Fenwick Brent Cross.