Tesco barricades ‘non-essential’ winter coats and children’s clothes in Streatham store


Tesco has barricaded off clothing and homeware today amid swingeing lockdown restrictions across England. 

The supermarket giant has used crates of beer, chocolates and biscuits to stop shoppers accessing its F&F range in stores in London, Walsall and Cambridge. 

But it has sparked a furious backlash from some customers who argue their growing children cannot go without clothes in the winter.     

Shoppers were baffled as an escalator leading to clothing and general merchandise in Walsall, West Mids, was barricaded with Corona and Budweiser boxes.

The Tesco Extra branch initially used dozens of 8ft-high cases of Corona beer to stop shoppers from browsing the floor of ‘non-essential items’.

But the pallets of beer were swiftly swapped for Budweiser after shoppers questioned the choice of using the Mexican brand.

And a photo taken in a store in Streatham, south London, showed metal barricades blocking off the coats and clothes, among other items.   

A Tesco Extra store in Walsall blocks off clothing and general merchandise departments with Budweiser beer cases

The travelator at a Tesco supermarket in Cambridge is blocked off to stop access to the clothing and homeware department

The travelator at a Tesco supermarket in Cambridge is blocked off to stop access to the clothing and homeware department 

Shoppers at the Tesco in Cambridge are not allowed to buy any clothing

Shoppers at the Tesco in Cambridge are not allowed to buy any clothing 

Tesco has barred shoppers from buying winter coats and children's clothes by barricading items deemed 'non-essential' at one of its London stores. A photo taken in the store, in Streatham, South London, showed metal barricades blocking off the coats and clothes, among other items

Tesco has barred shoppers from buying winter coats and children’s clothes by barricading items deemed ‘non-essential’ at one of its London stores. A photo taken in the store, in Streatham, South London, showed metal barricades blocking off the coats and clothes, among other items

The scene echoed those seen across Wales last month after the Welsh government ordered supermarkets to only sell goods which they deemed 'essential'. The measures had prompted one man to tear off plastic sheets which were covering 'non-essential' goods in a Tesco store in Bangor

The scene echoed those seen across Wales last month after the Welsh government ordered supermarkets to only sell goods which they deemed ‘essential’. The measures had prompted one man to tear off plastic sheets which were covering ‘non-essential’ goods in a Tesco store in Bangor

The scenes echoed those seen across Wales last month after the Welsh government ordered supermarkets to only sell goods which they deemed ‘essential’. 

The measures had prompted one man to tear off plastic sheets which were covering ‘non-essential’ goods in a Tesco store in Bangor, while another man ran into a store in Newport wearing only his boxer shorts. 

The photo in the Streatham store was taken by an angry shopper who posted on Twitter. It came after the England last week went back into a national lockdown. 

The shopper wrote: ‘Disappointed to see after the uproar of blocking off clothing, toys, homeware etc sections in one of your stores in Wales, you’ve now done this in your Streatham Extra store.

 ‘I can buy booze, but, not a kettle or underwear.’ 

A Tesco spokesman replied on Twitter: ‘In line with new Government guidance in England which requires the closure of separate floors selling non-food items, we have closed the Clothing and General Merchandise departments in our stores that sell these products from a separate mezzanine level.’

The Government’s guidance, released on November 5, says: ‘Where a business has sufficiently distinct parts, and one section provides essential retail and one section provides non-essential retail, the non-essential sections should close to limit interactions between customers and the opportunity for the disease to spread.

The shopper wrote: 'Disappointed to see after the uproar of blocking off clothing, toys, homeware etc sections in one of your stores in Wales, you've now done this in your Streatham Extra store. I can buy booze, but, not a kettle or underwear'

The shopper wrote: ‘Disappointed to see after the uproar of blocking off clothing, toys, homeware etc sections in one of your stores in Wales, you’ve now done this in your Streatham Extra store. I can buy booze, but, not a kettle or underwear’

A Tesco spokesman replied on Twitter: 'In line with new Government guidance in England which requires the closure of separate floors selling non-food items, we have closed the Clothing and General Merchandise departments in our stores that sell these products from a separate mezzanine level

A Tesco spokesman replied on Twitter: ‘In line with new Government guidance in England which requires the closure of separate floors selling non-food items, we have closed the Clothing and General Merchandise departments in our stores that sell these products from a separate mezzanine level

‘For example a food shop may stay open, but a homeware section on a separate floor or separate building should close.’

The photo came after the Welsh government’s similar measures provoked uproar across the country.   

A 28-year-old man was charged with criminal damage and breaching coronavirus regulations after plastic sheets were torn off ‘non-essential’ goods in a Tesco store in Bangor. 

A video posted on social media showed the man, who was not wearing a mask, shouting: ‘Since when have clothes been exempt?, rip the f***ers off… kids’ f***ing clothes, it is a disgrace.’

The photo came after the Welsh Government's similar measures provoked uproar across the country. Pictured: Clothes which were taped off at an Asda store in Cardiff last month

The photo came after the Welsh Government’s similar measures provoked uproar across the country. Pictured: Clothes which were taped off at an Asda store in Cardiff last month

Bedding was also apparently considered a luxury item as duvets and sheets were seen taped off at a Tesco store in Pontypool during Wales's lockdown

Bedding was also apparently considered a luxury item as duvets and sheets were seen taped off at a Tesco store in Pontypool during Wales’s lockdown

What are the rules for shops in England’s new lockdown?

Shops that can stay open:

  • Food shops
  • Supermarkets – but those with ‘sufficiently distinct parts’ should close areas selling non-essential items
  • Garden centres 
  • Retailers providing essential goods and services 

Shops that must shut (including but not limited to): 

  • Clothing
  • Electronics stores 
  • Vehicle showrooms 
  • Travel agents 
  • Betting shops
  • Auction houses
  • Tailors 
  • Car washes 
  • Tobacco and vape shops  

A security staff member approached him and he replied: ‘Since when has clothing not been essential.’

The store worker, who was wearing a face covering, confronted him over an F&F label stall while the cameraman ran away from another employee. 

A day later, a father attempted to shop at a Tesco store in Newport, Gwent, dressed only in his boxer shorts and a face mask.    

He was stopped by security staff as he tried to push his trolley the store.

His furious wife Dawn, 33, filmed him as he tried to access the store, demanding: ‘Clothes are non essential – let him in.’

Dawn told the workers: ‘Clothes are deemed now non-essential. Your stores policy says clothes are non essential.

‘Let him in to buy some clothes.

‘This is beyond a joke. There are children out there growing that need clothes.’

But a security guards says: ‘He’s not appropriately dressed. Go and take it up with the government.’

‘You can’t come in dressed like that.’

When the staff say they won’t let him in, Dawn repeated: ‘So clothes are essential to day-to-day life?’

The worker replied: ‘Of course they are.’

The couple were turned away but Dawn later posted the video online saying: ‘Please note that no lockdown rules were broken, nobody was put at risk, this non essentials list is beyond a joke! Clothes aren’t essential are they Mr Drakefold.’

Dad Chris Noden, 38

Dad Chris Noden, 38

Chris Noden, 38, was stopped by security staff as he tried to push his trolley into the Tesco store in Newport, south Wales wearing just his boxers and a face mask

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