In an ocean of coronavirus-linked bad news, there was some good news from Schuh as the company said it has now reopened its website. It has “completed a formal risk assessment as part of an extensive health and safety check”.
That now means there will be only 10 staff or less on-site, 2m spacing between all staff, site sanitization with regular cleaning throughout the day, work station sanitization cleaning kits, and hand sanitizer stations. All returning staff “do so in a consensual manner and with the option to remain at home and continue to be paid for the interim”.
The retailer’s website had closed temporarily following the UK lockdown, just like those of some other retailers, as problems such as inadequate social distancing in warehouses and accessing stock in shops meant it wasn't viable for some to continue selling online.
But in a prepared statement, the Scotland-based company said its management team has “made the highly considered decision to reopen their website with a staggered re-opening of their fulfillment operation, with exhaustive welfare measures to safeguard all employees.
“The significant impact of trading from COVID-19 has created commercial instability for all retailers. The Schuh management team are now reopening the website with strict health and safety processes, following continued government advice that online retail is still open and encouraged.”
The company added that the decision to reopen “is critical to preserve our business and is based upon government guidelines, which have also been endorsed by the Retail Consortium”.
It believes it has “gone above and beyond to comply with government health and safety hygiene practice and deliver extensive welfare procedures within our fulfillment operation”.
Some companies have been faced with persistent press reports that have quoted workers feeling unhappy about the conditions they’re operating in. This has also led some customers to say they shouldn’t be operating at the moment. But Schuh said it has “been overwhelmed by positivity from our community and we reopen with the continued goodwill and support of our employees”.
CEO Colin Temple said the company had been one of the first footwear retailers to cease trading in-store and was among “the few fashion retailers across the country to close online and fulfillment operations, following contradictory advice”. But “guidelines from both the UK and Scottish government, reinforced by the UK and Scottish Retail Consortiums, continue to ‘encourage online’ and the majority of other website retailers continue to trade across the UK, including Scotland”.