Jewellery chain Michael Hill has announced it will be opening “nearly” 100 stores from tomorrow Saturday 16 May across Australia and 25 stores in New Zealand.
The jewellery chain were one among several retailers to shut doors to its 300 stores on 24 March amid the coronavirus-triggered business shutdown.
The stores were closed to reduce costs and cash outflows, and while there will still be an “absolute focus on cost reduction to eliminate non-essential expenditure and manage its cost of doing business”, the brand also reported digital sales volumes that were higher than Christmas 2019 in the last three weeks.
“The surge in our digital sales signals a notable shift in consumer behaviour in the jewellery category,” said Michael Hill CEO Daniel Bracken.
The reopened stores will put in place extra safety protocols, such as additional cleaning, floor stickers encouraging social distancing, Perspex screens, contactless payments, and extra staff training.
The brand employs around 1,600 staff in Australia across head office and retail stores.
The remaining Michael Hill stores will reopen “progressively ... over the coming month”, but five underperforming Australian stores will not reopen.
“Further store closures are likely across all markets, based on store performance and the outcome of landlord negotiations,” stated an ASX announcement by Michael Hill.
7 May 2020
Apple stores to reopen today: Here’s who else is opening doors this week
Nearly all of Australia’s Apple stores are set to reopen from 10am today, making it one of the first major brands to open their doors since the coronavirus-induced business shutdown.
During the coronavirus pandemic, several retailers shut their stores temporarily, while others folded for good, hamstrung by an already-weak retail environment.
However, Apple CEO Tim Cook flagged at the end of April that stores in Australia and Austria would be set to open in the coming weeks, while “just a few” stores will reopen in the US from May.
The company’s flagship store on George Street, Sydney will remain closed for renovations, but 21 of 22 Apple stores across the country will reopen today at 10am, although some things will be a little different.
“To start, we will open with additional safety procedures including temperature checks, social distancing, and an adjusted schedule, to ensure customers and employees continue to stay healthy,” an Apple Australia spokesperson said.
"Our social distance protocol means a limited number of visitors in the store at one time so there may be a delay for walk-in customers. We recommend, where possible, customers buy online for delivery or in-store pick-up.”
Given the number of Australians working from home, there will be a focus on providing service and support at the Genius Bar.
You most likely won’t be able to waltz in for a walk-in appointment however; customers are encouraged to book appointments for technical support and to order online for in-store pick-ups for new purchases. Customers can also expect queues.
Kathmandu, Ripcurl, Myer also reopen
Clothing retailers Kathmandu and Ripcurl have reopened some stores on a trial basis across NSW and Queensland but have now decided to expand to reopen most stores across Australia.
They will also have additional measures, such as hand sanitiser, face masks, contactless customer service, and in-store social distancing measures.
Department store giant Myer has also flagged it will reopen five of its stores across Queensland in a trial to explore reopening more broadly across other states.
Myer’s Chermside, Carindale, North Lakes, Townsville and Toowoomba stores will open this Friday.
Like other retailers, hand sanitiser, face masks and gloves will be provided to staff, while beauty appointments, intimate apparel, suit and shoe fittings will not be available.
“Our priority continues to be the health and wellbeing of our customers and team members and to assist and support governments in limiting the spread of COVID-19,” said a Myer spokesperson.