John Lewis is set to reopen 13 stores next month with a host of strict safety measures in place to keep customers safe.
The department store chain said it then hopes to open more outlets during the summer months – depending on the response to its “new ways of operating”.
Earlier this week, the government gave non-essential retailers, such as fashion stores, the go-ahead to get back to business on 15 June.
John Lewis will open two branches that day, followed by another 11 three days later.
On 15 June:
On 18 June:
- High Wycombe
John Lewis said the branches were chosen “primarily because of their accessibility by car” and will adopt social distancing measures already in place in the firm’s Waitrose supermarkets.
The company added: “Depending on the response from customers and partners to our new ways of operating with respect to social distancing, more shops will open throughout the summer.”
Shoppers will face a series of restrictions and safety measures, as their experience of going into retailers will look and feel very different to before the coronavirus outbreak.
John Lewis said fitting rooms and in-store cafes will be shut until further notice – and it will reduce the availability of customer services, such as at beauty counters.
There will also be a reduction in the number of entrances to each store, and only a certain amount of shoppers will be allowed inside at any one time.
Staff will be on hand to welcome the public, answer questions and manage queues.
John Lewis temporarily closed its 50 department stores on 23 March – the day the prime minister announced the lockdown – for the first time in its 155-year history.
In April, the company said online trading had increased since the lockdown – but warned annual sales could plunge by 35% in a worst-case scenario as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.