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EDITORIAL Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Amazon and Very: how retailers – and their staff – are responding to Covid-19

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EDITORIAL Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Amazon and Very: how retailers – and their staff – are responding to Covid-19

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting as retailers respond to the inherent challenges of the massive ongoing changes in the way customers want to buy. Covid-19 – and the threat of a second wave and local lockdowns – is the most obvious factor driving that change. It is said that change has been coming in any case, but Covid-19 has just acted as the accelerant. Today it was cited as Edinburgh Woollen Mill group gave notice of plans to appoint administrators. The retail group says it’s looking for a breathing space while it considers a number of offers for the business, whose brands also include Jaeger and Peacocks, but it will also need to take stock of how its customers have changed the way they buy, with older shoppers thought to be among the least likely to return to shops at the moment.

 

Very Group, meanwhile, has benefited from its long-standing focus on mobile. During the pandemic, it says more of its customers than ever opted to buy via their smartphones as they looked for convenient ways to buy while staying at home. The retailer reaped the benefits of socially distanced and automated warehousing as it continued to trade throughout.

 

Amazon delayed its Prime Day event to next week as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Analysts say that competitors are already discounting heavily in the run up to the event, which is this year expected to mark the start of this year’s peak trading season. But data also suggests that Amazon may find that its sales are well down on previous Prime Day events.

 

In today’s guest comment, Derek O’Carroll of Brightpearl advises retailers on how they can prepare for a second wave of the pandemic.

 

We have a reminder today from retailTRUST of the toll the pandemic has taken on retail industry workers’ mental health. It’s urging retailers to join its new campaign ,which launches today to find ways to support staff wellbeing during and beyond lockdown.

 

And we also have the third in a series of three briefings on the practical steps that retailers can take now ahead of the end of the Brexit transition period - which ends on December 31. As yet there’s still uncertainty over the UK’s trading relationships with the EU, but there are still ways that retailers can plan and prepare, nonetheless.

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