Clothing and homeware chain Next has unveiled a raft of new safety measures to keep staff and shoppers safe as they prepare to reopen stores nationwide.

All Next stores have been shut since the country went into lockdown at the end of March but the company has been selling clothes online.

In an update, bosses from the chain have announced their plans to reopen shops once lockdown is lifted.

What have Next said?

The firm said: "On Thursday, March 26, we temporarily closed our UK warehouses and distribution networks in order to adapt our operations to working safely in a coronavirus world.

"During the 18 days of closure we re-organised all aspects of our warehousing to ensure social distancing and improved sanitation.

"We have plans in place for the re-purposing of our stores ready to re-open in a socially distanced world.

"Measures include screening of tills, distance marking walkways, sanitisation stations, exit and entry management systems and other measures."

When will Next stores reopen?

A statement on Next's website reads: "Our stores will remain closed until further notice. We will continue to follow Government advice around when to safely reopen." 

Will Next allow customers to return items they've purchased?

The chain has asked shoppers to hold on to their items until the stores reopen.

A spokesman said: "We will honour any late returns in line with the other terms in our returns policy for a period of 14 days from when we reopen.

"Please keep your receipt as proof of purchase. We will make additional exceptions on a case by case basis where necessary."

How are you Next delivering two-person items - such as furniture?

To ensure the safety of their delivery drivers and customers, Next have made some changes to the way larger items are delivered.

Next added: "We will send two couriers to deliver your item, who will travel in separate vehicles from each other so that they are two-metres apart during this time.

"For your safety and the safety of our couriers, we will deliver items to the entrance of your home and will be unable to deliver the item into a room of your choice.

"Our couriers will be wearing face protection and will always stay two-metres away from you. They may politely ask you to step back a bit if necessary, please don’t take offence, this is to keep everyone safe and we hope you will understand.

"The driver will sign for your delivery and take an image of the item to confirm your delivery has been successful. 

"If you have ordered an upholstery item, we would usually offer to fit any feet and take away any packaging, however, to ensure that the delivery service is contact-free we will be unable to assist you with this."

Due to the pandemic, Next added that they are unable to offer an assembly service. Customers who have purchased an assembly service, will receive some additional information along with a refund for the service.