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Gloucestershire Business News

Next and B&Q restore online sales operations

Next and B&Q have restarted online sales after introducing new processes to deal with coronavirus restrictions.

And clothes retailer Fat Face has vowed to continue its online operations as the company continues its search for new investment.

Online sales account for more than half of Next's sales but have been closed since March 26 - three days after the retailer shut its 700 stores in the UK.

But it said a partial online sales operation was restarting today in compliance with government guidelines.

A company statement said warehouse managers had "successfully tested opening and taking a limited number of orders".

Strict measures are in place to ensure its warehouses can operate safely and according to social distancing measures.

The retailer said: "The idea is to begin selling in low volumes, so that we only need a small number of colleagues in each warehouse at any one time, helping to ensure rigorous social distancing is complied with."

A limited range of popular items, such as childrenswear and selected small home items, are available with the company limiting orders to the number of items it believes can be picked safely each day before switching the website to browse only.

B&Q has also reopened its website for delivery or click and collect with items delivered to customers' cars.

Chief executive Graham Bell said: "We have been working hard to create a service that focuses on providing essential products for repair and maintenance of the home.

"This means we can keep supplies open and give our customers the best possible service to ensure their homes are safe, warm and in working order."

Fat Face's promise to continue trading online comes amid talks with owners Bridgepoint and banks about financing options when its current deals expire later this year.

The company says its accounts, which have not been filed due to the ongoing discussions, will show sales of £241.8m and a pre-tax profit of £9.2m.

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