COVID-19 retail casualties: Kathmandu, Rip Curl lay off 1,300 staff

·4-min read
The retailers forced to shut permanently as coronavirus takes its toll. Source: Getty
The retailers forced to shut permanently as coronavirus takes its toll. Source: Getty

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the temporary shuttering of thousands of retailers worldwide, but some have been forced to close stores permanently as the financial strain of the outbreak takes its toll.

Here are the stores facing closures and staff redundancies:A

March 27: Kathmandu, Rip Curl lay off 1,300 staff

Adventure clothing and equipment chain Kathmandu will shut its 165 stores, including Rip Curl, across Australia, with the retailer blaming coronavirus and social distancing measures.

Around 1,300 staff are expected to be stood down without pay for four weeks, while senior executives will take a 20 per cent pay cut.

March 26: All Just Group employees stood down

The parent company of Just Jeans, Peter Alexander and Smiggle has reportedly informed all 6000 staff members that they will be stood down until April 22, as the coronavirus pandemic lockdown measures force store closures.

There are 1000 Just Group stores Australia-wide, with all bricks and mortar set to shut shop today.

March 26: Flight Centre stands down 3800 staff

Flight Centre has announced that 3800 of its support and sales staff around Australia will be temporarily stood down.

This brings the company’s global total to 6000, with some to be made redundant.

It follows the firm’s March 12 announcement that it would close 100 stores Australia-wide.

March 25: Mosaic Brands shuts 1379 stores

Mosaic Brands, which owns Noni B, Rivers and Katies, has announced it will shut its 1379 stores across the country and stand down 6800 staff, blaming the government’s ‘confusing’ announcements.

Chairman Richard Falconi said the store’s operations would be suspended from Thursday March 26 onwards, due to sharply declining sales and the new social distancing rules.

March 24: Michael Hill closes 300 stores

Jeweller Michael Hill has been forced to close its stores indefinitely, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Michael Hill said the ‘social distancing’ guidelines in place were “not consistent with the day-to-day conduct” of its business.

Following this announcement, the company stated it would be moving to “an essential services-only footing”, and is taking “urgent measures” to ensure costs are reduced.

The company currently employs around 1,600 staff in Australia in its head office and retail stores, and has 304 stores across Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

“Whilst there remain many uncertainties about the potential impact and duration of the crisis, we are focused on taking all necessary actions to reduce our costs and cash outflows so that they better match the very subdued consumer demand in all our markets,” CEO Daniel Bracken said.

March 23: Tigerlily enters voluntary administration

Clothing and swimwear brand Tigerlily yesterday entered voluntary administration, blaming the coronavirus pandemic for a drop in sales, the SMH reported.

The company has around 30 stores across Australia and employs around 200 people.

KordaMentha administrator Scott Langdon said Covid-19 was a “core reason” for Tigerlily’s collapse, saying Aussies staying at home have meant foot traffic through stores is low.

"It reduced the number of people coming through shopping centres, which reduced sales in an already challenging environment,” Langdon said.

March 12: Flight Centre closes 100 stores

Travel agency Flight Centre announced it would close up to 100 stores Australia-wide as the Covid-19 crisis saw a rapid decline in travel bookings.

The company blamed “heightened uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus” in a statement to the ASX. It said “up to 100 under-performing leisure shops” will close.

Flight Centre employs 20,000 people internationally, but its bottom line has been significantly hit as airlines continue to ground flights, and the Prime Minister announced an international travel ban.

The company also suspended its 2020 fiscal year guidance.

March 10: Kikki K enters administration

While the Swedish stationary chain didn’t blame the Covid-19 crisis, Melbourne-based Kikki K entered voluntary administration amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is with profound regret and sadness that we take this action,” founder Kristina Karlsson said.

“This business began with a young girl’s dream 20 years ago and became an international success story with customers in over 150 countries.”

More to come.

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