Retail outlet Next has cancelled plans for an in-store sale on Saturday after bowing to pressure from employees who feared they would be at an increased risk of coronavirus exposure.
Next has 19 stores in Northern Ireland where staff were told on Monday its mid-season sale scheduled for March 28 was being brought forward to this Saturday, March 21.
However, after employees used a company chatline to say how worried they were, Next halted its in-store sale plans.
Among a number of employees who contacted the Belfast Telegraph, one said she and her colleagues were alarmed but were too afraid to voice their concerns in case it cost them their jobs.
She said: "A lot of us were already concerned that Next was having a mid-season sale but when we were told on Monday the sale was being brought forward to this Saturday, we were shocked.
"Next have a company online chat available to all employees in the UK and Ireland and a lot of people wrote on that how worried they were about getting coronavirus and passing it on to vulnerable people in their families."
Next sent a memo to all its employees yesterday informing them the sale would be restricted now to online and acknowledging staff worries, saying: "I can see from your comments that many of you feel strongly about the risk this would pose to you, your colleagues and our customers.
"It is right that we minimise the risk."
Next said that while the sale would only be online, sale prices would be honoured in stores.
It 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."