Cluster of Australian retailers including JAG, Saba and Sportscraft shut all their shops as pandemic continues to shatter local brands
- The APG&CO group is the latest Australian retailer to announce store closures
- Shops like Forever New, Rivers and Millers have all been shut amid the pandemic
- Stores have been forced to go online and stand down thousands of workers
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
A group of Australian stores including JAG, Saba and Sportscraft are the latest to close their shops amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The APG&CO group that owns the brands released a statement saying it had ‘taken decisive action and temporarily closed all stores in its portfolio.’
It comes after Forever New shut its doors today and shops like Rivers, Katies, Noni B and Millers announced they would follow suit on Thursday, the Herald Sun reported.
The APG&CO group that manages brands like JAG and Sportscraft (pictured) has been the latest Australian retailer forced to close its stores amid the COVID-19 pandemic
Forever New (pictured) closed the doors on all of its Australian stores this morning
This will put almost 6800 employees temporarily out of work.
Mosaic Brands, which owns Rockmans, W. Lane, Beme, Crossroads and Autograph, also made a statement that they would cease to operate.
‘The health and wellbeing of the groups customer’s, teams and broader community are paramount,’ the statement says.
‘The Group’s personal service mandate, which it prides itself on, conflicts with the government’s ‘social distancing’ recommendations. Given this, the Group has decided to suspend all store operations temporarily with effect from Thursday 26 March.’
This is the first national brand to close retail operations, with more expected to follow.
All team members who are stood down will have access to leave entitlements and assistance in finding government support schemes.
The statement said: ‘The Group will continue to communicate regularly with the team and will offer other forms of support through this difficult time and period of uncertainty, including access to its Employee Assistance Program.’
Australian brands like Rivers (pictured) and Millers have also announced store closures
The Group’s stores will continue to operate on an online basis.
With Australians being urged to stay close to home and tens of thousands already losing their jobs, the Australian Retailers Association and SDA, the union representing floor staff, have written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison pleading for help.
‘The COVID-19 crisis currently gripping Australia has created the most challenging trading conditions ever faced by retailers in our country’s history,’ ARA chief executive Russell Zimmerman and SDA national secretary Gerard Dwyer wrote.
‘Employers and employees alike are now staring down the barrel of mass unemployment and face the terrifying prospect of being unable to pay mortgages, rent and put food on the table for their kids.’
Mr Dwyer said discretionary spending had fallen off a cliff.
They want a retail sector-specific rescue package, including wage subsidies, underwriting of loans and a government guarantee of rent payments or for the government to work with landlords to reduce rents.
Some 1.3 million Australians work in the sector, many of them younger people, women and seniors.
Thousands of workers were stood down as retailers were forced online. Pictured: Noni B