Going clothes shopping? Here’s everything you need to know as stores reopen

Deirdre McQuillan on face masks, changing rooms, returns policies and more

If you’re heading out for some clothes shopping, now that retailers are allowed to reopen their stores, what are the new arrangements? Do you have to queue? Do you need a face mask? Can you try clothes on? We asked a few leading retailers about their policies. It is worth bearing in mind that your statutory rights as a consumer are not affected by Covid-19 restrictions.


Face masks are mandatory for staff and customers, and anyone can walk into the store – no appointments are needed. Changing rooms and toilets are open. The store’s 28-day returns policy is unchanged.


Face masks are compulsory, and the number of customers is monitored. All fitting rooms are open and no appointments are necessary. There’s a 28 day returns policy, and items purchased online can be returned in store. Clothes that have been tried on are sanitised and quarantined before being returned to rails.


No queuing is necessary, face masks are compulsory, and a maximum of 35-40 customers are allowed in the store at a time. Changing rooms are closed – Cos has a 28-day returns policy.



All fitting rooms are closed. No queuing is necessary, and face masks are mandatory. The company has a 28-day returns policy.


Face masks are compulsory, and a limited number of fitting rooms are open. The number of shoppers coming into the shops is monitored. H&M has a 28-day returns policy. There are also used-garment collection points for recycling.


No queueing necessary, but face coverings must be worn. Changing rooms and toilets are open. The cafe is open only for takeaways. The store has a 28-day returns and exchange policy.


Not all changing rooms are open, but the company is offering a contact-free bra-fitting service that needs to be booked in advance. It has also extended its returns policy to 35 days for both online and in-store purchases – but 14 days for sales items. Click-and-collect service continues.


Footwear can be tried on as usual, and a 28-day returns policy is in operation. Face coverings must be worn and hand sanitisers used on entry.


Face masks are mandatory for staff and customers. Changing rooms are closed, and there is socially distanced queuing at tills. Penneys operates a 28-day returns policy.


Queues are monitored inside and outside if needed. Fitting rooms are closed. River Island’s returns policy is 28 days from reopening for all purchases since the stores closed – so any gifts bought in December, for example, can be returned with the receipt.


“Relax, come in and buy a whole load of shoes. Just wear a mask. It’s business as usual.”


Face masks are compulsory. Changing rooms are closed. Zara operates a 30-day returns policy. Underwear, provided all labels and protective strips are kept in place, can be exchanged, although men’s underwear cannot be returned or exchanged; the same applies to children’s underwear – the exception being socks, tights, tops and vests in their original packaging.