Primark to reopen 153 stores in England by June 15 after coronavirus lockdown

PRIMARK will reopen 153 stores in England by June 15 after the coronavirus lockdown.

The clothing store shut all of its 189 UK stores on March 22 after the Government ordered all non-essential shops to close.

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 Primark hopes to reopen all 153 of its stores by June 15


Primark hopes to reopen all 153 of its stores by June 15Credit: Alamy

But now they have been given the go-ahead to reopen in mid-June, as long as they’re COVID-19 “secure”.

Primark, which was shut for 12 weeks, said the lockdown has caused a loss of around £650million worth of sales a month.

Unlike many other fashion retailers, Primark doesn’t trade online through its own website so has been unable to trade at all during lockdown.

The chain said that it has cut overheads by more than 50 per cent to stabilise its finances during the pandemic.

Five steps businesses need to take before reopening

BEFORE reopening, businesses are encouraged by the Government to follow these five guidelines:

Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

  • carry out a risk assessment in line with the HSE guidance
  • consult with staff or trade unions
  • share the results of the risk assessment with staff and on company websites

Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

  • encourage people to follow the guidance on hand washing and hygiene
  • provide hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
  • frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
  • enhance cleaning for busy areas
  • set clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
  • provide hand drying facilities – either paper towels or electrical dryers
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Help people to work from home

Businesses should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home by:

  • discussing home working arrangements
  • ensuring they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
  • including them in all necessary communications
  • looking after their physical and mental wellbeing

Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible

  • put up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
  • avoid sharing workstations
  • use floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
  • arrange one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
  • switch to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible

Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

  • consider whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
  • keep the activity time involved as short as possible
  • use screens or barriers to separate people from each other
  • use back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
  • stagger arrival and departure times
  • reduce the number of people each person has contact with by using “fixed teams or partnering”

It has already reopened 112 stores across Europe as countries begin to ease their own lockdown rules.

In a statement, Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said: “As European governments have begun to ease restrictions on clothing retailing we have been able to reopen stores.

“Safety has been our highest priority in our detailed preparations to welcome our customers and employees back to stores.

“We are following government safety advice in all markets.

“Importantly, we will apply the valuable experience gained from more than 100 stores which are already open as we open the remainder of our estate, including stores across the UK.”

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Shopping at Primark won’t be the same as before though and shoppers and staff will have to abide by social distancing rules.

Hand sanitiser stations have been installed in stores and perspex screens put up at the tills to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

The retailer has said that stores will undergo additional cleaning, especially of “high frequency touch points” such as door handles.

Primark said that sales in the reopened Europe stores was “reassuring and encouraging” with queues outside most of the branches.

But it added that like-for-like sales have been lower than the same period last year and it doesn’t expect it to recover to pre-pandemic levels while social distancing measures are in place.

The retailer said it is awaiting further guidance regarding stores in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales but anticipates openings in “late June”.

Next has also announced that it will be reopening 25 of their 500 stores from June 15 as part of a phased reopening plan.

Outdoor markets and car showrooms are allowed to open from today (June 1), while schools also look to welcome back some pupils.

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Debenhams has also said that it will keep cafes in stores closed after lockdown and some workers will be made redundant.

All non-essential shops including stores selling clothes, toys and furniture to reopen by June 15, Boris Johnson reveals


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