News Coronavirus Kathmandu, Adairs fall to coronavirus-driven retail closures

Kathmandu, Adairs fall to coronavirus-driven retail closures

retail coronavirus kathmandu
Kathmandu and RipCurl workers are the latest to be stood down during the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: AAP
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Homewares trader Adairs and outdoor retailer Kathmandu are the latest victims of Australia’s retail shut downs.

Adairs said on Friday it would shut its Australian stores on Sunday for up to six weeks for the safety of staff and customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Adairs has already shut its stores in New Zealand, which is in lockdown. The company will continue trading online in both countries.

Clothing chain Kathmandu, which has about 170 outlets in Australia and New Zealand, will take the same action on Friday. The company will also close more than 100 Rip Curl shops.

It is understood about 2000 Australian store and head office staff will be stood down without pay for four weeks. A skeleton crew will be retained and work from home.

Kathmandu had already closed stores in regions including Brazil, Europe, New Zealand and North America.

The board has suspended dividend payments to shareholders. Senior executives will have their pay cut by 20 per cent.

Football Federation Australia also stood down staff on Friday.

Just three days after confirming the suspension of the A-League until at least April 22, FFA chief executive James Johnson said the organisation would stand down 70 per cent of its employees – about 160 people.

Mr Johnson said a handful of staff would stay on to maintain operations and communication with the community.

“We view this as a temporary stoppage of football,” he said.

The FFA, Kathmandu and Adairs employees join tens of thousands of Australian workers stood down from their jobs without pay in the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Thursday, Premier Investments – which owns the Smiggle, Peter Alexander, Portmans and Just Jeans stores – stood down 9000 workers around the world.

“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,” Premier chief executive Mark McInnes said.

Jewellery chain Lovisa and Athlete’s Foot owner Accent Group on the same day temporarily closed 400 shops and 500, respectively.

Accent, which also owns the Platypus and Hype shoe chains, will stand down a reported 5000 staff.

Mosaic Brands – the owner of Noni B, Rivers and Katies – has said it will stand down 6800 employees in 1300 shops, while Michael Hill Jewellers is pulling down the shutters on 300 outlets, including 165 in Australia.

The travel industry has also suspended huge numbers of workers.

Qantas has stood down 20,000 of its 30,000 workers, and Virgin Australia has done the same for 8000 workers. Virgin has also flagged more than 1000 redundancies.

Flight Centre says an initial 6000 of its global sales and support staff globally will either be stood down or made redundant.

In rare bright spots, supermarkets are among the few companies hiring workers. Woolworths will take on 20,000 staff to meet a surge in demand, and Coles has said it will hire 5000.

“We’re working with a number of customer-focused businesses impacted by recent government measures to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Woolworths chief executive Brad Banducci said.

On Friday, Woolworths said it had placed about 3000 of its stood-down ALH Group team members in new roles across its supermarkets and alcohol outlets BWS and Dan Murphy’s.

It is also preparing to offer up to 5000 short-term roles to stood-down Qantas employees.

-with agencies