Fashion retailer Next has closed its warehousing and distribution operations and will not be taking any further orders via its e-commerce channels.
In a statement on its website Next said: “We will not be taking any more online orders until further notice.
“We have listened carefully to our colleagues in our warehouses and distribution operations. It is clear that many increasingly feel they should be at home in the current climate.
“As a result, we have taken the difficult decision to close our warehouse and distribution operations until further notice.”
Richard Lim, chief executive of research consultancy Retail Economics said: “The decision to effectively shut down the website shows staff shortages are playing havoc with keeping the business operational. Online was the only channel to drive any source of income and the tap has been completely turned off.
“Next’s decision to temporarily cease online orders follows River Island and Moss Bros and it’s likely that others will follow suit. For many non-essential retailers that had to shut stores, online was their lifeline to continue trading, albeit at much lower levels because of capacity constraints. Whether this shutdown will have longer-term scarring effects is dependent on the underlying health of the business and whether they can survive a cash crunch in the coming months.
“For many retailers, cash flow will soon turn negative and the question is how long these companies can continue to operate without additional financing.”