Kmart cuts trading hours as social distancing hits big name shops
Kmart cuts trading hours as social distancing hits big name shops

Kmart cuts hours as staff test positive

Hardware and DIY giant Bunnings, Kmart and Ikea and several other warehouse-style retailers may close their doors as the NSW Government moves to reduce infection risks.

Target, Big W and Officeworks are expected to be evaluated for closure if the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

Bunnings, which has restricted shoppers to four people per aisle policed by staff, employs 43,000 Australians around the country, including more than 12,000 in NSW.

Managing Director Michael Schneider has stressed keeping its doors open for tradespeople was still important, Nine News reported.

"The challenge for us is not just the customers and the team members operating in stores but across Australia over 700,000 small businesses rely on Bunnings to provide them with products," Mr Schneider said.

Kmart stores are remaining open for now, but have reduced their trading hours to give teams "more time to clean stores and support online order fulfilment", customers were told in an email on Tuesday.

The announcement came just hours after two staff at a Melbourne store tested positive for the virus.

From April 1, stores in Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania will open from 8:00am to 8:00pm on weekdays and 8:00am to 5:00pm on weekends, while in Western Australia and South Australia they'll open slightly later at 11:00am on Sundays. In Queensland, they'll open from 7:00am to 8:00pm on weekdays, 7:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays, and 9:00am to 5:00pm on Sundays.

All 24-hour stores will also only operate from 8:00am to 10:00pm from now on.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is reportedly comfortable with the current social distancing measures at large stores, but has flagged that further closures are possible.

Accent Group, which owns Athlete’s Foot, is closing 522 stores. Picture: Mark Wilson
Accent Group, which owns Athlete’s Foot, is closing 522 stores. Picture: Mark Wilson

Yesterday, makeup juggernaut Mecca emailed customers to confirm it was temporarily closing stores for four weeks - until the end of April - although it will be business as usual for the brand's online store.

"These are difficult and disorienting times we find ourselves in. We've tried to keep our doors open, operating with rigorous health and safety measures to protect our customers and our team," the email reads.

"However, based on the revised advice of the Government over the last few days and the challenges in adhering to the increasingly stringent social distancing measures, we have no choice but to temporarily close our stores from today, as nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of our team, our customers and the community in general."

Last week, outdoor clothing chain Kathmandu joined the list of major retailers to shut its doors in response to the sharp decline of business as a result of strict social distancing measures.

It stood down 2000 staff across its Australian and New Zealand operations without pay.

The company will also close 118 Rip Curl outlets which it acquired last year, joining the dozens of big name stores announcing closures as the coronavirus bears down on the industry.

The group released a statement to the Australian securities exchange saying it is aiming to close all stores by 5pm this afternoon and its senior executive team will take a 20 per cent pay cut.

Retail Food Group - the owners of popular chains Gloria Jean's Coffees, Brumby's Bakeries, Donut King, and Michel's Patisserie - said it will stand down or cut the hours of its workforce.

"In order to safeguard as many jobs as possible over the longer term, and to better preserve and protect the sustainability of its franchise network, the company is implementing a reduction in the total working hours across the group, in consultation with its personnel, by either standing down, or reducing the working hours of, the majority of RFG's team members," the company said in a statement.

"Those team members most impacted by this measure will be assisted where possible through this difficult period."

From Sunday, furniture retailer Adairs will temporarily close its 160 Australian stores and stand down its retail and customer support staff.

Many companies across Australia have said they will remain closed for at least four weeks, while others won't reopen until it is deemed safe to do so. But several online stores are continuing to operate as normal, with deliveries unaffected and some return periods extended.

Here's what other big brands have said:

CUE AND VERONICA MAINE

All Cue and Veronica Maine stores will temporarily close, along with their shops in Myer and David Jones, from close of business on Friday.

"Our top priority at this moment is the safety and wellbeing of our dedicated team and you, our loyal customers, along with our responsibility to the greater community at large," it said in an email to customers.

"We have made the decision because it's the responsible thing to do. We will reopen when we know it is safe to do so and we look forward to seeing you again once this heartbreaking health crisis has passed."

Online stores will, however, remain open.

SEED

All Seed stores have been closed until further notice, although customers can continue to shop the brand in Myer and David Jones.

"From everyone at Seed, we look forward to welcoming you back when stores re-open. Let's continue to move forward together with kindness, empathy and a sense of community," it said in an email to customers.

WITTNER

All Wittner shoe stores have now closed "until further notice", but the brand's online store remains open and its return period has been extended.

GLASSONS

All Glassons stores across Australia are now closed. In an email to customers, the brand said stores would not be reopening until it was safe to do so.

"We will continue to trade as normal online," it said, adding that there would be a 14-day grace period when stores eventually reopened for anyone unable to return items.

 

AESOP

All Aesop stores and counters will shut from close of business on Friday, but their online store remains open.

DAVID JONES

David Jones stores are still open, but customers have been advised to check the website for any updates to trading hours before visiting.

"We have taken extra steps to ensure our stores are clean, hygienic environments for everyone including increasing the frequency of cleaning and providing hand sanitiser in all stores," a statement on its website says.

All in-store beauty treatments have been suspended until further notice.

MYER

All Myer stores are closed for an initial period of four weeks, with 10,000 staff stood down. Online shopping is still available and the company has relaxed its returns policy.



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