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EDITORIAL UK stores to stay closed until (at least) April 12: retailers respond – and continue to innovate online

Shops in city centres have closed at a faster rate than in towns or villages. Image: Adobe Stock

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting as retailers from Frasers Group to Hotter respond to the news that non-essential retail will not open before April 12. Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the announcement giving details about the way out of lockdown last night, and while retailers broadly welcomed the plan, they are still looking both for more detail on the dates and more certainty on the support they will be able to get in the meantime.  Frasers Group says continuing store closures, coupled with the wider shift online among customers, is likely to cost it north of £100m in the second half of its financial year alone. That adds up to more than £220m for the full year. 

Meanwhile, vendors suggest that ecommerce will remain a much more prominent channel post-lockdown and that retailers must ensure they can trade across online and offline sales channels for the future. 

Lockdowns have pushed many shoppers online during the pandemic – and Urban Outfitters today shows how it has used JRNI technology to engage with those customers, boosting sales as a result. It’s a timely story, that comes as today’s guest comment from Nick Burdett of Landor & Fitch marks London Fashion Week, this year held online, by considering five ways fashion brands can bring the online experience to life.

Fashion retailers are among those cutting down on their packaging in order to meet testing sustainability targets. Meanwhile, fashion retailer Mango is welcoming the first third-party brand to its website as it looks to offer its customers goods it believes are relevant to them. 

Finally, a new study suggests that many UK retailers may stop sending goods to Northern Ireland unless there are changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol that now governs trade before the end of April.

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