Covid-19: Fenwick closes its doors both in store and online

Department store Fenwick has announced the temporary closure of its online business due to a lack of back-end systems to support picking orders from its warehouse.

Normally, Fenwick picks online orders by hand from store and following the closure of its shops last week it has now made the decision to pause orders from its eCommerce website.

Customers visiting will see the following message from the company: “We are a family owned business and we work a bit differently to some online retailers. We have tried to keep our online business running to serve you – but we don’t have huge warehouses and automated systems, instead a group of dedicated workers hand pick the items you purchase from one of our designated stores, carefully wrap and pack them, ready for delivery.”

Last week, Fenwick told customers on social media that after 140 years of trading it was closing all stores until further notice to prevent the spread of Covid-19. It said it would continue to operate its digital channels for “as long as we can”, but due to the nature of its business it has now paused its online business as well.

Following the closure of its website, the retailer said it would not be able to fulfil any more orders and customers with outstanding orders would be contacted as quickly as possible.

On Monday evening prime minister, Boris Johnson, ordered all non-essential retailers to close shops temporarily, reflecting similar demands on pubs, clubs, restaurants, and gyms the previous week. Most retailers are directing customers to their eCommerce websites to stay afloat during this public health crisis, but the demand on systems its taking its toll on many, especially those in the grocery and food sector.

Ocado and other supermarkets are struggling to meet customer demand, and smaller retailers including Virgin Wines and Naked Wines have had to temporarily pause orders to deal with backlogs and allow warehouses to catch up.

In the fashion space, many retailers are extending return periods to allow self-isolating customers more time to post back any unwanted orders.

Essential Retail’s rolling news story, includes details of many of the other retailers that have already closed their doors temporarily in light of the escalating health crisis.