Childrenswear is right focus as Next cautiously brings website back into action, says GlobalData

After closing its online operations on 26 March, Next yesterday reopened its e-commerce site selling childrenswear and small homewares only and restricting the numbers of orders it will accept each day.

 Sofie Willmott, lead analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on this news: “In a much better position to face the COVID-19 pandemic than many other clothing specialists given that over half of its sales are taken online, Next is wise to reopen its website now its warehouse staff can work safely, and childrenswear is the most logical product area to offer first given that the shorter lifespans of products continue to drive replacement purchases. We expect this to be the best performing subsector within clothing & footwear this year as demand for adult clothing falls significantly.

“Other clothing players that quickly closed their e-commerce operations to safeguard employees’ health should consider whether they can follow in Next’s footsteps by making their distribution centres safe to work in. There will be much less demand for some of the formal and occasionwear brands that have closed their online sites such as Moss Bros, Quiz and Paul Smith but others such as River Island and TK Maxx sell products that shoppers will want to buy such as loungewear, homewares and childrenswear.”