Fashion retailer Next has reopened its online business after bolstering social distancing measures at its warehouses.
It had stopped taking orders on 26 March and closed its High Street stores on 23 March, a day before the UK went into lockdown to battle Covid-19.
It comes as fashion retailers faces billions of pounds of write-offs as their stock lies unsold.
Separately Amazon said it planned to ease temporary curbs on sales of non-essential goods on its US platforms.
In a statement to investors, Next said it was reopening online from Tuesday “in a very limited way” – initially selling only necessities such as children’s clothes and selected small home items.
“The idea is to begin selling in low volumes, so that we only need a small number of colleagues in each warehouse at any one time, helping to ensure rigorous social distancing is complied with,” the firm said.
“To achieve these limited volumes, Next will only allow customers to order the number of items that it believes can be picked safely on any given day.”
At that point, it said it would stop taking orders and convert the website to “browse only” until the following morning.
The business, which makes more than half of its sales online, has warned it faces a “very significant drop in sales” as a result of the effect of the coronavirus outbreak.
Like other fashion retailers, it had been facing waning consumer demand before the crisis, but since all “non-essential” High Street shops were forced to shut, those problems have intensified.
According to research from Retail Economics and Alvarez & Marsal, sales across the UK’s fashion retail sector are thought to have plunged by 70% since the lockdown, forcing retailers including Primark and Next to pause or cancel orders.
Most had just taken delivery of their latest spring and summer collections and now face a £15bn mountain of stock that cannot be sold, the research said.
Separately, online retailing giant Amazon has said it will now allow more sales of non-essential items from third-party sellers in the US, who make up the majority of sales on its site.
For almost a month, it has prioritised deliveries of household items and medical supplies at its American fulfilment centres. The curbs will remain in place in Europe, although the firm is keen to reverse them soon.
Of the US move, the firm said: “Products will be limited by quantity to enable us to continue prioritising products and protecting employees, while also ensuring most selling partners can ship goods into our facilities.”
Amazon has faced protests from current warehouse staff in the US and Europe over whether it has provided adequate protection from coronavirus infections at its warehouses.
However, on Monday it urged US workers who had lost jobs because of the coronavirus slowdown to apply for as many as 75,000 new positions it is offering.
Last month, Amazon took on 100,000 extra US staff to fill priority online orders for food and medical equipment for existing customers.
But it still has a waiting list for new customers.