The new reality of retail: Late nights in Penneys and contact-free bra fittings in M&S

Non-essential retail is reopening. Before shops open their doors, we’ve found three inventive ways some are making their spaces safer for customers 
The new reality of retail: Late nights in Penneys and contact-free bra fittings in M&S

Contact-free bra fittings will begin in some stores.Picture: iStock

Open all hours 

Many shops are opening earlier or pushing their closing time to later in the day to allow shoppers to browse with fewer people at off-peak times.

One such retailer is Penneys, which had huge success last week as 275,000 shopping appointments were snapped up by shoppers and gained an insight into its customers' shopping habits for 2021.

From tomorrow, Penneys will have extended opening hours in place across every store to help reduce queues and give customers more time to shop safely.

Penneys will have extended opening hours in place across every store. Picture: Domnick Walsh
Penneys will have extended opening hours in place across every store. Picture: Domnick Walsh

Opening times will vary by store so customers should check their local opening hours, however many stores will be open into the night. 

For example, Penneys in Cork will open from 8am to 10pm in its Patrick Street store and there will be an even later 11pm finish in Wilton.

Crowd control 

For anyone anxious about encountering crowds, some retailers will be incorporating technology in their shopping experience.

Dundrum shopping centre’s Crowd Checker feature will be available on its website from Monday.

It will provide updates on footfall trends in real-time, helping shoppers to plan and inform their decision on when best to visit.

At the same time, live occupancy and capacity levels will be monitored in the shopping centre in line with government guidelines.

Size it up 

After 14 months, many customers this week could be in the market for a new bra. With such a long time between opportunities to buy lingerie, a bra fitting is a service that many may need.

M&S is one store with an innovative approach to fittings. It has introduced a contact-free bra fit from expert M&S colleagues at 15 stores.

We asked what a contact-free fitting entails:

“Customers will enter a sealed fitting room and will be handed a pre-sanitised measuring tape. They will be asked to measure their under band and give the staff member the measurements. 

The staff member observers the customer's cup shape (all from a two-metre distance) and makes recommendations on what bras the customers may like to purchase.

“The staff member then goes to the sales floor and selects 3 bras, once the customer has selected the purchases they leave with their items and the staff member deep cleans all of the door handles, walls, mirror etc and leaves to settle before the next customer.”

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