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The Range Under Fire From Council Leader

The Range Barnsley 725 x 500.jpg

Basildon Council Leader Gavin Callaghan has written to the CEO of The Range to urge him to close during the coronavirus crisis, to protect staff and customers.

The Range operates more than 180 stores across the UK and sells a wide range of home and garden goods; a number also sell frozen food via in-store Iceland concessions.  It has been classified as an essential retailer by the government and is can remain open as it sells food, pet food and toilet rolls, while many other retailers, including garden centres, must remain closed.

Phographs of shoppers at The Range with heavily-laden trolleys have featured heavily in the nation's press since the lockdown started, with journalists and readers alike questioning how barbecues, DIY equipment, gardening items, games and toys, could be considered 'essential' purchases given the government's strict rules on leaving the house.  Shoppers have argued that if the stores are open and the products are available for purchase then there is no issue.    

Councillor Callaghan has written to the business urging it to shut its doors, stating that the majority of goods sold in The Range - which has a store in Pittsea, near Basildon - are non-essential, and by remaining open it is putting its staff at risk.  

Mr Callaghan's letter said, "in order to maximise your profits at this time, you are showing yourselves to be examples of the worst of British business".

"You are forcing my residents to travel to work to provide non-essential services, therefore putting their lives, the lives of your customers and their families at risk, 

"How are you sleeping at night knowing that your staff, your customers and all of their families are potentially being infected?"

The Range responded with the following statement:

 "The Range has been classified as an essential retailer by the UK government.

"We therefore continue to open to serve our community and customers in these challenging times. In doing so we are tightly adhering to all social distancing government guidance." 

On its website, The Range has featured an open letter to customers, understood to have been posted in the week commencing March 23rd, when stores were first ordered to close:  

"Dear Customer,

Following on from Monday evening’s announcement that all non-essential stores are to close, we’ve had confirmation from Trading Standards that we can remain open during this period of uncertainty for the communities that we serve. We are a value retailer and understand that a lot of our customers rely on us to provide essential items like food and groceries, pet food and veterinary items, non-prescription items, toilet rolls, cleaning products and all at the value prices that they need right now.

Stocking thousands of essential everyday products across 180 stores nation-wide, we’ve been working hard to ensure we can continue to provide safe access to all of these necessities under one roof. While all of our stores remain open, our opening hours have changed to 09:00 – 18:00. You can find your nearest store using the Store Finder here.

Our store teams have been briefed on the latest government health and safety guidelines and are taking the necessary actions to help ensure the safety of our customers and colleagues. This includes the implementation of enhanced cleaning routines and social distancing. For the safety of other shoppers and staff, we ask that you keep a distance of at least 2m (6ft) apart and avoid physical contact as far as possible while shopping in store with us. We also request that, where possible, you pay by contactless card to reduce the risk of contamination.

We’ve recently been experiencing a significant increase in demand on our online store and, while our warehouse and delivery teams are working as hard as possible to get your products to you, some orders may take longer to arrive than expected. Please bear with us during this time and trust that we’re making every effort to get your items dispatched and delivered promptly.

Our Customer Care team are working very hard to ensure that all of your queries are answered during this time. Unfortunately, due to the impact of the current climate and our concern for the welfare of our staff, we’ve had to reduce our Customer Care operating hours to the following:

Monday – Friday: 08:00 – 18:00 
Saturday: 08:30 – 17:00 

If you have any queries relating to an online purchase, please refer to our FAQ page first to help reduce the strain on our call centre.

Keep well and stay safe,

Alex Simpkin, CEO"

Source : Insight DIY Team

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22 April 2020

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

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