U.K. Retailers Act To Shore Up Profits Amid Quarantine

By Victoria Pavlova

12:25:00, Apr. 1, 2020


This week, the Guardian revealed that online grocery giant Ocado has ordered 100,000 Covid-19 testing kits for its staff, in an effort to ensure they are “working round the clock” to deliver essential goods to the public. Ocado has said that it wants all its warehouse and delivery staff tested regularly in order to avoid multiple workers taking preventative sick leave.

Forbes,Mar 30, 2020-Online retailers in the U.K. have taken measures to protect their distribution workers or come under intense scrutiny this week, as widespread social distancing and quarantine measures hit the nation’s retail chains.


This week, the Guardian revealed that online grocery giant Ocado has ordered 100,000 Covid-19 testing kits for its staff, in an effort to ensure they are “working round the clock” to deliver essential goods to the public.


Ocado has said that it wants all its warehouse and delivery staff tested regularly in order to avoid multiple workers taking preventative sick leave.


This is to ensure customers who cannot visit the shops because they are observing lockdown protocols can receive deliveries safely.


However, the food delivery firm has pledged to hand testing kits over to the NHS, if required.


Other retailers have fared less well under the latest health and safety guidelines instituted by the U.K. government last week.


On Saturday, online fashion marketplace ASOS came under fire from trade union GMB over reports that the company had failed to enforce social distancing at some of its warehouses and banned workers from wearing masks.


The call for ASOS to institute adequate measures or close its warehouses was later joined by outgoing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as reports of walkouts at its warehouses flooded social media.


Meanwhile, clothing retailer Arcadia Group has become the latest casualty of the quarantine measures.


The business, owned by entrepreneur Sir Philip Green, has cancelled all orders from its suppliers and extended its payment terms in an effort to conserve cash while its physical stores remain closed.


The group, which operates high street staples Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton has also extended payment terms by 30 days.


The move follows the closure of all Arcadia-owned stores in the U.K. last week, amid a government mandated shutdown of all “non-essential businesses."


“As many of you will be aware, following U.K. government intervention, we were forced to close our stores last week to safeguard the welfare of our employees, customers and communities,” Arcadia said in the letter to suppliers, according to industry magazine Drapers.


“You will appreciate that this has significantly hindered our ability to make use of any goods supplied by you and has dramatically reduced the revenue coming into our business.

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