FASHION chain Next has been forced to close its online operations yesterday night amid workers’ coronavirus concerns.

The company has stopped taking online orders until further notice.

Bosses have faced sustained pressure from politicians and staff, who felt like they were being pressured into stores.

On Wednesday, it was revealed that the company had offered a 20 per cent pay rise to any worker willing to continue picking jumpers, socks and other clothes for customers.

In a statement, the company said: “ It is clear that many increasingly feel they should be at home in the current climate.

“Next has therefore taken the difficult decision to temporarily close its Online, Warehousing and Distribution operations from Thursday, March 26.”

“Next will not be taking any more online order after this time until further notice.”

Some of the biggest chains, including McDonald’s and Greggs, have closed all operations, despite being able to continue offering takeaways under current lockdown rules.

And in retail, others have closed down online operations to protect staff from travelling and maintaining social distance.

But some fashion retailers  continue to run online operations, including Boohoo and Asos, despite the Government calling on all non-essential workers to stay home.

Next has struggled during the outbreak, at first insisting in official communications that it would be considering the company “essential” in the event of a lockdown.

This was changed and stores were closed, but some staff were still being asked to come to sites and pick for online orders.

But with pressure from MPs and reports of workers in warehouses not adhering to social distancing, Next made its latest decision on Thursday evening.