Jun 2, 2020
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Hammerson, M&S prepare for new normal as they share reopening plans

Jun 2, 2020

Hammerson and Marks & Spencer have released further details of their reopening plans as retailers across the UK prepare to transition to a “new normal”.

Fitting rooms will be closed but customers will have up to 90 days to make returns - Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer said it will leverage its experience of keeping its food stores open throughout the pandemic to ensure its clothing shops are safe for customers to visit.

The majority of its clothing departments will reopen on 15 June, although there will be a series of changes to the way they operate.

Staff will manage the flow of customers in and out of stores, hand sanitiser will be offered upon entry and floor markings will remind customers to follow social distancing rules.

Fitting rooms will be closed and “close-contact services” such as bra fit suspended. On the upside, customers will have 90 days to make returns.

M&S retail operations director Andrew Walmsley said: “Whilst shopping may feel different, there will still be the same great service and expert advice customers expect of M&S, as well as more digital solutions to supplement the in-store experience – such as our enhanced online bra fit tool.”

Perspex screens have been installed at all till points and while cafés will still be closed, some stores will offer coffee-to-go.

Hammerson to open malls and Bicester Village

Hammerson said that its English shopping centres will also reopen from 15 June, as well Bicester Village. Seven of its eight retail parks will fully reopen on 15 June.

In Ireland, there will be a phased re-opening of stores, beginning with small retail outlets. Hammerson said around 30% of Dundrum shopping centre is expected to be open by the end of June, with 40% and 20% at Swords and Illac respectively.

The company’s destinations in Scotland are currently closed as the country is following its own Covid-19 exit plan.

Shopping centres will reopen with a raft of safety measures, including one way systems, clear signage reminding visitors of the need to follow social distancing guidance and enhanced cleaning processes.

Comprehensive plans have been developed for each centre based on footprint, footfall, and tenant base and independent inspection organisation Bureau Veritas has been appointed to analyse and approve all strategies.

Mark Bourgeois, UK and Ireland managing director of Hammerson, said: “We have developed a comprehensive set of measures to keep people safe and we have technology in place to allow us to monitor visitor numbers, to ensure there are never too many people in our spaces at any one time.”

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