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Retailers react

Many housewares retailers had already made the decision to temporarily close their physical stores by the time PM Boris Johnson announced the UK’s lockdown on Tuesday (March 24), resulting in the temporary closure of “non-essential” retail outlets. Hardware stores (many of which stock housewares) have been classified as “essential”.

Lakeland closed its stores on Sunday and put its website and phone orders on hold (continuing as PH went to press). Chief executive Catherine Nunn told customers: “This pause is necessary so we can ensure those colleagues who choose to carry on working are able to do so as safely as possible and in line with all Government guidelines.”

Above: Lakeland temporarily shut its shops last weekend.
Above: Lakeland temporarily shut its shops last weekend.

Robert Dyas closed all stores on Monday (March 23) – described by its team as a ‘tough decision’ as the shops ‘were providing much-needed services to the community, for example allowing people to access essential cleaning materials that have at times been in short supply elsewhere.’ The retailer is continuing to sell online ‘ for as long as possible.’

With its stores closing on Monday (March 23), Dunelm suspended online orders in order to create a plan to keep its staff safe. It re-opened ecommerce and home delivery on Thursday (March 26) focusing on a selection of homewares from long-standing suppliers, including a wide range of utility from Brabantia, with additional lines to be added on a daily basis.

Above: Brabantia products are available from Dunelm’s selection of home delivery products aimed to help consumers make the best of their time at home.
Above: Brabantia products are available from Dunelm’s selection of home delivery products aimed to help consumers make the best of their time at home.

Fenwick temporarily suspended online sale on Tuesday morning to protect its staff, explaining that its teams worked closely to handpick orders. The department store chain (which closed its stores on March 19) is encouraging its customers to keep in touch and share stories via its social media channels. The retailer states: ‘We would love to hear from you, our incredible customers, about how you are adapting to being at home. Have you decided to become a master baker..?’

Top: Non-essential retailers put up the ‘closed’ signs from Wednesday morning due to emergency measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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