Next has resumed selling online this morning less than three weeks after temporarily closing its ecommerce, warehouse and distribution operations amid the coronavirus crisis.

The fashion giant said it has “implemented very extensive additional safety measures” after consulting with its staff and unions and had “successfully tested opening and taking a limited number of orders” over the Easter weekend.

Next said it was relaunching its transactional website “in a very limited way” this morning, with categories that “customers most need”, including childrenswear and homeware, initially offered.

The retailer said more ranges “may be added at a later date”.

The move comes just days after a letter from MP Alok Sharma, secretary of state for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, wrote to retailers urging them to continue operating their online businesses.

As first reported by the Mail on Sunday, more than 3,000 of Next’s employees have volunteered to go back to work.

Only a fraction of those are set to return this week, with Next insisting that only staff “who are willing and able to safely return to work” will do so.

Next said: “The idea is to begin selling in low volumes, so that we only need a small number of colleagues in each warehouse at any one time, helping to ensure rigorous social distancing is complied with.

“To achieve these limited volumes, Next will only allow customers to order the number of items that it believes can be picked safely on any given day. At that point we will then stop taking orders and convert the website to ‘browse only’ until the following morning.”

Next has posted a video on its website to explain the new safety measures being put in place, which include floor markings showing 2 metre gaps, hand-sanitising stations and a one-way movement system.

Warehouse workers will also be given ‘keep clean kits’ and will wear vests that say “stay 2 metres apart” on the back.

As previously reported, Next was the only major listed retailer to cease trading across both stores and online in the UK after the country was put into lockdown.

The likes of TK Maxx, River Island and Schuh also ceased trading online, although the latter has since relaunched its ecommerce operations after putting in place similar new safety measures.