- The coronavirus pandemic has led several retailers to close their doors.
- We created a list of retailers that have suspended operations, including Noni B, Michael Hill and The Athlete’s Foot.
- These closures have left thousands of Australians without a job.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
Just when you thought the retail apocalypse couldn’t get any worse.
With the coronavirus outbreak leading the federal government to implement social distancing rules, travel restrictions and business closures, the retail sector has been hard hit.
Several retailers have closed their doors, leaving thousands of Australians out of work.
We compiled a list of companies that have halted operations amid the pandemic:
Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo has temporarily closed all 22 of its Australian stores amid the coronavirus outbreak. The stores will close from April 2 until further notice, with online delivery still available.
“This is a challenging decision for any business to make and not one that we make lightly, but we believe it is the right thing to do for our community,” Uniqlo said on its website.
“We will continue to work closely with our teams, the Government and public health officials throughout the country on the best way to navigate the days and weeks ahead, and will share information with you as we move forward together.”
Freedom has temporarily closed all of its stores, except for one in Toowoomba, with its online stores remaining open.
“We’ve kept our stores open for as long as possible, but due to the unfolding situation with Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Government recommendations we have temporarily closed our stores (with the exception of freedom Toowoomba) and retail support centres,” the company said on its website.
Hanesbrands, which owns brands including Bonds, Bras ‘N Things, Champion and Sheridan closed all of its roughly 450 stores in Australia on March 31. More than 3000 employees have been stood down, with the company continuing to pay the salary of permanent workers for at least two weeks after stores closed. Workers can also access their annual leave or long service leave if they want to.
It comes after Hanes Australia closed around 40 stores in the US, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK.
“We have been doing our best to keep our stores open and our people safe and in work,” David Bortolussi, group president of Hanesbrands said in a statement. “However, with the federal and state governments announcing over the past couple of days increasingly stringent measures for social distancing to keep us all safe, we now have no choice but to close all of our store networks across Australia, to protect our store teams and prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our communities.”
Cotton On closed all of its 650 Australian stores on Sunday March 29 amid the coronavirus outbreak, with its online business remaining open. Cotton On Group CEO Peter Johnson said in a statement the company will continue paying its part-time and full-time workers in Australia.
“As we navigate through some pretty tough times right now, our number one priority is to protect the livelihoods of our teams around the world as best we can,” he said.
Jewellery chain Lovisa has closed its stores in Australia and New Zealand, with online orders and delivery still available.
Myer is temporarily closing all of its stores for an initial four weeks, from March 29 until April 27. Its online business will continue operating.
Myer is standing down around 10,000 staff and they won’t be paid during that period. Full time and part-time workers, however, can access their annual and long service leave, as well as government assistance.
“The decision to temporarily close all Myer stores and stand down so many loyal and dedicated team members is one of the toughest decisions this Company has faced in its 120 years of operation,” Myer CEO John King said in a statement.
“Our focus must remain on operating our business in a manner that protects the health and wellbeing of customers and team members, whilst supporting the government, and the communities in which we operate, in limiting the spread of COVID-19.”
RM Williams has temporarily closed all of its Australian stores from March 28 until April 27. This is on top of the company temporarily shutting RM Williams Boot Rooms in New Zealand, the UK and the US.
Kathmandu and Ripcurl
Kathmandu Holdings – which owns Kathmandu, Rip Curl and Oboz brands – is closing its Australian retail stores by 5pm on Friday to ensure the health and safety of its workers. Its retail and head office workers will, save for some skeleton crew, will be stood down without pay for four weeks. However, they have access to leave entitlements and government assistance.
It comes after the company closed its New Zealand stores and distribution centres on March 24 for at least four weeks.
Online retail will continue in Australia, Europe and the USA.
Premier Investments – which owns retailers including Just Jeans, Jacqui-E, Jay Jays, Smiggle and Peter Alexander – is temporarily closing all of its retail stores following the coronavirus outbreak. The stores will be closed from 6pm on Thursday 26 March until Wednesday 22 April 2020.
It comes after the company made a similar decision in New Zealand, the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
More than 9,000 workers will be impacted globally, with all employees stood down except for a few who will be required to do “essential work”.
Workers won’t be paid during this time, with the company putting in place special arrangements for them to access accrued annual and long service leave entitlements.
Premier Retail CEO Mark McInnes voluntarily decided to work from home without pay or any other entitlements until April 22.
“This is the hardest decision ever made by Premier- our team are our family and we want to do everything we can to keep them employed, but we believe that it is necessary and the right decision for them, their families, our customers, and the country,” the company said in a statement.
Accent Group, which owns footwear brands including The Athlete’s Foot, Platypus and Hype, is closing all of its stores from 5pm on Friday 27 March. The closure will remain for four weeks, with all employees and most of its support office employees being stood down without pay during that time.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have made this decision, but we believe this to be in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of our team members,” Accent Group CEO Daniel Agostinelli said in a statement.
“The company intends to do everything possible to return the business to normal operations when environmental conditions normalise whilst always prioritising the safety and wellbeing of our team.”
According to The Australian, the closure affects more than 5000 workers across more than 500 stores. During the stand down period, workers will continue accuring entitlements and can access their annual and long service leave.
The group will continue trading through its 18 websites and wholesale business.
Mosaic Brands, which owns Noni B, Rivers and Katies, announced the suspension of all store operations from Thursday, with no specification on how long it will last. This includes more than 1300 stores, with nearly 7000 workers stood down.
“The group has recently seen a significant drop in store traffic and revenue, a direct result of the community’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the government’s “social distancing” recommendations,” Mosaic said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“The group is working with its business partners and is reviewing its cost of doing business, with a view to reducing costs to match expected revenue.”
Online operations, however, will continue.
Michael Hill jewellers closed its stores in Australia, New Zealand and Canada amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The retailer has around 2,500 staff across its 300 stores globally, which are now shut for an indefinite period of time.
Workers will get access to their leave entitlements and can access unemployment measures such as Newstart.
“Whilst it is clear that the suspension of our store networks is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of our people and our customers – we know also that this will be a time of great uncertainty for them too, and we are doing our best to provide them with the support that they need through this difficult time,” Michael Hill chair Emma Hill said, according to the SMH.
Fashion brand Tigerlily went into voluntary administration, with administrator KordaMentha saying it was due to the impact of the coronavirus, the ABC reported.
The company, which has 200 employeees, was founded by businesswoman Jodhi Meares, the ex-wife of James Packer. Its stores will stay open while the administrators find a buyer.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.