A FASHION retailer has come under fire after revealing it will honour 'sale' prices in store, despite suggesting an upcoming sale will be online-only as a result of latest government advice.

Next, which has dozens of stores across the region including in Darlington, Teesside Park, Metrocentre and Newcastle, today confirmed it would be holding its 'mid-season' sale online-only due to coronavirus fears.

But attracting criticism, the retailer revealed prices of reduced goods online would be honoured if customers decide to purchase items in its stores across the country.

Prompting a backlash on social media, members of the public slammed the firm for 'putting profits' before the health and safety of its staff.

Meanwhile others accused the retailer of 'greed' as latest COVID-19 advice remains that people should avoid social contact and 'all but essential' travel.

A statement published by Next online said: "In light of the government's recent announcement and in order to protect our staff and customers, Next has made the decision to run its usual Mid Season Sale ONLINE only.

"It will start this weekend. We will however, honour the lower prices instore.

"This is a fast moving, fast changing situation and plans may alter between now and then and if they do we will update accordingly."

'Stop the sale'

But calling for Next to rethink its decision, on social media one person said: "It's nothing but greed, if you are honouring the prices in store there is still a sale and people will flock in.

"Just stop the sale and make the money another time instead of risking the health of your staff and customers."

Suggesting the fashion firm should cancel their sale, another said: "Next at its best. Putting profits before their staff. Next should be ashamed of themselves. 

'No-one should be put at risk'

"The staff might just be a number to you but they are all someone's family and friend. No-one should be put at risk."

Meanwhile concerns were raised about the number of people who would be in the stores at any given time.

A disgruntled customer said: "I am absolutely disgusted that you have chosen to move your sale forward to this Saturday.

"Getting a bargain is not an essential social activity. You are actively encouraging hoards of people to cram into your stores.

"I understand that people need jobs, but social distancing needs to be considered, a sale at this time is irresponsible and immoral."

However, some were left divided with one comment which said: "If businesses don't proceed as normal people will lose their jobs and their homes and then where would we be."

  • The Northern Echo contacted the fashion retailer but at time of publication did not receive a response.