As the UK lurched towards lockdown back in mid-March, it became clear to managers at health foods and dietary supplements retailer Holland & Barrett that the majority of the company’s 700-plus UK stores would need to stay open.
Indeed, the British government told them as much, company executives have claimed. In the government’s eyes, Holland & Barrett was viewed as an “essential retailer”, because it caters to customers with special dietary requirements. These include pregnant women needing folic acid supplements, for example, and people with coeliac disease or allergies to milk or eggs, not to mention ‘at risk’ groups with compromised immune systems needing additional nutritional support.
While this meant that many of Holland & Barrett’s in-store staff still needed to come to work each day, the same wasn’t true for those employees working in stores located within shopping centers closed by their landlords, nor for those