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Mar 26, 2020

Next Is Closing Its Warehouses And Stopping Online Orders After Staff Said They Didn't Feel Safe

On Wednesday, BuzzFeed News revealed Next’s staff had complained they didn't feel safe going into work during the coronavirus pandemic.

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The clothing retailer Next is closing its warehouses and stopping online orders after BuzzFeed News revealed its staff had complained they didn't feel safe going into work during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, two staff members at different Next distribution centres told BuzzFeed News that the government's social distancing guidelines were not being followed onsite.

In a statement on Thursday evening, the company said: "NEXT has listened very carefully to its colleagues working in Warehousing and Distribution Operations to fulfil Online orders.

"It is clear that many increasingly feel they should be at home in the current climate.

"NEXT has therefore taken the difficult decision to temporarily close its Online, Warehousing and Distribution Operations from this evening, Thursday 26 March 2020. NEXT will not be taking any more Online orders after this time until further notice."

When workers arrived at work on Wednesday, dozens of them stood together waiting to be assigned tasks, one employee had told BuzzFeed News. “There were 50 people stood together brushing shoulders.”

A second employee at a different Next distribution centre told BuzzFeed News a similar story. They said that scanners were being passed between dozens of employees per day with only minimal sanitisation.

They also confirmed that staff were having to eat in the road outside because the canteen had been shut.


Alex Wickham is a senior reporter with BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alex Wickham at alex.wickham@buzzfeed.com.

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