Retailer says clarity needed over click-and-collect service

Marks & Spencer claims to be ‘essential retailer’ in apparent clash with restrictions

Marks & Spencer is the second high-profile retailer to continue to offer a click-and-collect-style service throughout January. Photograph: Tom Honan

Marks & Spencer is the second high-profile retailer to continue to offer a click-and-collect-style service throughout January. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Marks & Spencer has claimed it needs further clarification from the Government before it reviews its click-and-collect service covering non-essential items.

The retailer has been allowing customers shop online for clothes, homewares and more lines before collecting them at particular stores since the start of the Level-5 lockdown in an apparent contravention of guidelines prohibiting such services except for “essential retail items”.

When asked why it had continued to offer the service, a company spokeswoman told The Irish Times it was an “essential retailer”.

Clothing and home items

She said that Marks & Spencer does “encourage [its] customers to opt for home delivery when purchasing clothing and home items” and added that it was “awaiting further clarification from the Irish Government on click and collect for essential retailers and will review our service accordingly”.

The Department of Enterprise earlier this week said the Level 5 guidelines were “clear that click and collect or reserve and collect services are only available for essential retail items”. It added that it had “been engaging with retailers to ensure Covid-19 guidelines are followed”.

During the second lockdown in October and November, non-essential retailers were allowed to sell online as well as offer a so-called click-and-collect service which meant many smaller retailers without the capacity for full online delivery services were able to continue to trade.

Movement and travel

With Covid-19 case numbers surging in late December, however, non-essential retail was forced to close for the third time in less than a year and the Government decided not to allow the click-and-collect model so as to reduce movement and travel as much as possible.

Marks & Spencer is the second high-profile retailer to have continued to offer a click-and-collect-style service throughout January. Dunnes Stores this week removed prominent references to a “reserve-and-collect” service for clothes and homewares from its website after being asked to explain how it differed from “click-and-collect” operations prohibited for non-essential retail.