Over recent weeks online retailers of non-essential goods have been under significant pressure to close their operations. Despite the pressure, many retailers are relying on generating cash from online sales to aid their survival during the coronavirus pandemic.
High-profile retailers close their doors
Several high-profile retailers have chosen to close their online operations, in addition to their physical high street stores, such as TK Maxx, River Island and Next. Simon Wolfson, the chief executive of Next has explained how many clothing retailers would struggle even if they continue to remain open, as people who are at home under lockdown are not shopping for new outfits.
Those who have chosen to remain open online are being warned that they could receive significant backlash for asking their suppliers and workers to continue to work during the crisis. It is also expected that the government may impose restrictions on deliveries of non-essential goods, with postal workers explaining that they are not willing to deliver unnecessary items.
Companies defend online operations
Despite the pressure to close, many retail executives are defending their decision to remain open, with the British Retail Consortium in agreement. A significant number of retailers have emphasised that they are following government social distancing and hygiene guidelines. For example, the chief retail executive of Boohoo, John Lyttle, has visited its Burnley warehouse to ensure all measures are being implemented effectively.
Retail executives at Marks and Spencer and John Lewis, state that although the health of their employees is of utmost importance, they are committed to supplying essential items to their customers. The items which are currently in high demand include children’s clothing, bedding, underwear and various products that assist with working from home.
A last chance to boost income?
For many retailers which were already struggling, the daily online sales are of significant importance. Although financial support is available from the government in some situations, a business needs to prove that it was financially viable before the coronavirus outbreak. This is not the situation for many high-street retailers which struggle to survive each month.
Many believe that online sales could be their last chance to boost income, as the government may completely halt all forms of trade other than medical and food sales.
As retail businesses across the country struggle from the COVID-19 outbreak, many are looking for experienced retail executives to help them through this period. Here at Anthony Gregg, we specialise in recruiting for the retail industry. If you are a retail executive with experience in optimising supply chains and business recovery, please contact us today to find your next position.