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MATCHESFASHION and Browns temporarily close physical retail stores due to COVID-19 crisis

Lauretta Roberts
17 March 2020

Luxury fashion retailers MATCHESFASHION and Browns have closed their physical retail stores on a temporary basis as the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis escalates in the UK.

The Government has stopped short of banning all non-essential retailers, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, from opening but plummeting footfall and an increasing number of the population working from home has prompted some retailers to take pre-emptive action.

MATCHESFASHION has stores in some of London's most affluent neighbourhoods such as Wimbledon, Notting Hill and Marylebone.

It will continue to operate its e-commerce business and its 5 Carlos Place, townhouse private shopping suite in London's Mayfair will continue to operate. In a communication to customers, the retailer sought to reassure them of the additional measures it had taken to ensure staff and customers remained safe.


Matchesfashion, 5 Carlos Place, London

“Rest assured, we are adhering to all appropriate health and hygiene standards in line with guidance from the World Health Organization. We are maintaining the highest standards of hygiene at all of our physical locations and ensuring our people only report for work if they are fit and healthy," it said.

E-commerce delivery vans were being disinfected daily and drivers were washing and sanitising hands regularly, it added. Its online service continued to be offered worldwide with the exception of deliveries to the epicentre of the crisis in Wuhan, China.

Fellow luxury retailer Browns has closed its store on London's South Molton Street and its sister site Browns East in Shoreditch, though its e-commerce service remains operational. CEO Holli Rogers told customers: "This is a challenging time for us all – we are navigating unchartered territory together and each day brings a new development. Being responsive to change has always been at the forefront of retail, and whilst Browns has always been fashion forward, we are a people and values driven business.

"[...] whilst we have been protecting and safeguarding the environments of our Browns South Molton Street flagship store and Browns East store to ensure health and wellbeing are top notch, we have taken the decision to temporarily close our stores along with our HQ and help mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19."

Neither MATCHESFASHION nor Browns put an expected re-opening date on its stores but many other retailers who have already made the move in the UK, including Boden, Urban Outfitters, Nike and Abercrombie & Fitch, have all said the stores would remain closed until 28 March at the earliest.

Other retailers are trying to soldier through until the Government mandates a shut-down (in some cases this is because it will then enable them to claim business interruption on the insurance and also avoid breaching leases) but are taking steps to ensure safety of staff and customers, such as cancelling in-store events, accepting only credit cards to avoid hand-to-hand contact, curtailing trading hours and implementing stricter hygiene procedures.

George at ASDA has introduced a new "contactless delivery" service for its customers who are in self isolation. Customers can indicate this is the case on their order and drivers, who will be wearing gloves, will leave their orders on the doorstep. The customer will be alerted to say the delivery has been made.

See here for steps fashion retailers are taking while trading during this unprecedented time.

For all COVID-19 related news and features, visit our dedicated content hub.

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