The owner of The Athlete’s Foot has brought back 1,500 workers after reopening its doors

The Athlete’s Foot Accent Group
  • Accent Group, the parent company of footwear retailers including Platypus and The Athlete’s Foot has seen a spike in online sales during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Sales in May and June have been strong after the company shut all its stores back in March.
  • The company has also reinstated workers it stood down during the store closures.
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Accent Group, the parent company of footwear retailers including Platypus, Hype and The Athlete’s Foot, has seen a spike in online sales during the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes after the company shut all its stores on March 27 and stood down all its employees.

In its latest company update, Accent Group reported record online sales in May, earning $2 million during Click Frenzy. During the whole month of May its sales reached $29 million while online purchases in June accounted for 23% of all sales.

Accent Group CEO Daniel Agostinelli said in a statement the company’s strong sales over the past two months went beyond expectations.

“Through this period Accent has attracted many new customers online who have never shopped with us before,” he said. “We will continue to drive digital growth as the number one priority in our company.”

During its store closures, Accent Group turned some of its locations into ‘dark stores’ – fulfilment centres for items bought online – to help address the high demand it was getting online. During the last two weeks of April, the group’s online sales jumped to between $800,000 and $1.1 million a day.

Accent Group started reopening its more than 500 stores across Australia and New Zealand in May. And from June 1, it brought back all its 1,500 permanent workers that had been stood down with full pay. The reinstatements also helped boost sales in June.

Sales in New Zealand, Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and regional areas were stronger than in metro areas like Sydney and Melbourne. This was mostly across activewear and performance running footwear in the Stylerunner and The Athlete’s Foot brands.

Accent Group credits its reopening and ability to support its workers to the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

“Accent Group’s greatest asset is its people and I am incredibly proud of the resilience, tenacity and performance of our team through this difficult period,” Agostinelli added.

With the company’s strong performance, it expects its 2020 financial year EBITDA to be around 10% above $108.8 million, which is reached during the 2019 financial year.

But while the company has had “successful negotiations” with most of its landlords in terms of paying rent, it said it will close stores if it fails to reach agreements.