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UPDATED: Net-A-Porter to shut London distribution hub and suspend online orders

Sadiyah Ismailjee
27 March 2020

Net-A-Porter is closing its London site based distribution site in Charlton and has temporarily halted online orders due to the escalating COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis.

The move comes after the luxury etailer faced criticism for keeping the site open despite implementing social distancing and stricter hygiene measures. The Charlton site, based in South London, employs a total of 550 people.

However, Net-a-Porter has since announced that it had already decided to close prior to the union's criticism and in a statement said it would be "temporarily closing our London warehouse in line with similar temporory closures we have made in Europe and the USA, until further notice."

The Outnet, the off-price luxury etailer, which is also part of the YOOX NET-A-PORTER Group, has also closed its warehouse and will only fulfil online orders once the site has re-opened.

Similar to other retailers and etailers, Net-A-Porter has been facing logistics issues during the lockdown and had suspended its US site (including menswear site Mr Porter) after temporarily closing its warehouse there.

The company informed its customers of the move this afternoon saying it had "made the difficult decision" to suspend trading and adding that it was lengthening its returns period to 60 days for those customers wishing to send back items.

It added that it would re-open the centre as soon as it was safe to do so and in the meantime was investigating different ways to service customers.

A number of pureplay etailers such as ASOS and retailers are continuing to trade online and are facing increasing criticism over working conditions in distribution hubs during the outbreak. Despite this, many companies are insisting they are carrying out strict hygiene and social distancing measures.

Department stores FenwickMoss BrosSchuh and River Island have all take the decision to close their online operations following more stringent social distancing measures introduced by the Government this week. The Government has said, however, that non-essential retailers, such as clothing businesses, can continue to trade online but pressure from staff, unions and politicians, coupled with concerns about safety, mean that many are taking the decision to close.

Yesterday, Next also announced it will stop taking online orders and close its warehouses during the COVID-19 lock-down.

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