Thousands of stores across the country have temporarily closed their doors as the coronavirus crisis continues to batter the retail industry.
Premier Investments, who owns Smiggle, Peter Alexander, Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Portmans, Jacqui E and Dotti, revealed it has “no choice” but to temporarily close all of its stores from 6pm tonight until April 22.
The company said in a statement that “regrettably” more than 9000 employees will be stood down.
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“This means our team members will not attend work and will not be paid. We have put in place special arrangements for employees to access accrued annual and long service leave entitlements to reduce the impact over this time,” the company said.
The entire Just Group executive team have also been stood down and have agreed to work from home with either no pay or reduced leave entitlements, while the CEO of Premier Retail, Mark McInnes, has voluntarily decided to work from home without pay.
Premier says it intends to pay no rent across any of its stores during the shutdown, with seventy per cent of their leases either expiring this year or are in holdover, providing the Group with “maximum flexibility”.
“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.
Jewellery store Lovisa has also announced they have closed their stores in Australia and New Zealand indefinitely today.
It follows the temporary closure of other retail giants including Michael Hill, Forever New and General Pants.
RAG Group, which owns mens clothing brands Tarocash, YD and Connor, will also close over 500 stores on Friday, while the Accent Group, which owns Athlete’s Foot, Skechers, Timberlands and Platypus, will also shut up shop for four weeks.