Like many non-essential retailers across England, H&M has confirmed that stores will be reopening on 15th June.
It will be welcome news for fans of the fast fashion behemoth’s affordable, trend-led clothing, especially now that the days are getting warm enough to stock up on easy sundresses and sandals. Of course, H&M has maintained its e-commerce operation during lockdown, but there’s no substitute for browsing the store and stumbling across a treasure, magpie-like, that you didn’t know you needed.
With new Government guidelines to protect customers and staff from transmission of Covid-19 though, the shopping experience at H&M post-lockdown will look very different from the one we’ve come to know.
“There will be many restrictions in place meaning conditions will remain challenging and we are flexible and humble about the fact from one day to another, the situation may change,” H&M said in a statement announcing the new protocols.
Luckily, the chain has an advantage in that it can apply learnings from stores that have already reopened in mainland Europe to those in England.
Here, we take a look at how a post-lockdown H&M shopping trip will look:
Entering the store
H&M stores will have separate entrances and exits, and customer numbers in-store will be limited in order to ensure social distancing. Expect a member of staff at each entrance or exit to manage store numbers, which will be recorded by an automatic counter device. Be prepared to queue if the store is full when you arrive.
You’ll see clear signage and floor markings throughout the store, reminding you to maintain correct social distancing measures. There will also be in-store verbal reminders through the speakers.
There will be plenty of hand sanitiser stations across the store for customer use, and you can expect to see staff cleaning surfaces more frequently, and wearing PPE for certain tasks like handling returns or garment recycling.
Trying on clothes
Fitting rooms will remain closed for now.
All till points will be fitted with Plexiglass screens to protect staff and customers from any potential germ transmission.
Paying by card will be encouraged, though there will be one cash-only till per floor in each store for those customers who prefer not to pay by card.
Click and collect services have been suspended entirely for now.