Thousands of retail stores across the country have announced they will close their doors this week, leaving thousands of Aussies out of work.
Australian Bureau of Statistics research reveals that the biggest layoffs were announced by Virgin Australia, Flight Centre and Premier Investments.
Stores owned by Premier Investments – which include Portmans, Peter Alexander, Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Smiggle, Dotti and General Pants – will be closing their doors from 6pm tonight (26th March) until the 22nd April, leaving over 9,000 employees without work.
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Dear Smigglers, In these unprecedented and uncertain times, the safety and well being of our team members, customers and communities are key. As a result, we have temporarily closed all retail and online stores in Australia & New Zealand until further notice. To assist our customers we have extended our returns policy from 14 days to 60 days for all purchases made in store or online after the 16th March 2020. On behalf of our entire team we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and to wish you and your family the best. Stay healthy, safe and kind. We're all in this together. Team Smiggle
In a statement to investors, the company acknowledged that all its employees in Australia will be stood down.
“Regrettably…. all employees in Australia are to be stood down, except for a small number of employees required to perform limited essential work,” the statement reads.
“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. Globally these closures will impact over 9000 of our employees.”
The news comes as Lovisa, Glassons and footwear group Accent – which owns Platypus, Athletes Foot and Hype – announce that they will be closing their 522 stores from Friday (27th March).
While most stores claim their closures are only temporary, they have not provided a definite date for re-opening.
Thousands of workers in hospitality have been shown the door as businesses close down to curb the spread of COVID-19.
It is the loss of thousands of jobs like these that have resulted in long queues outside Centrelink offices as people try to claim benefits.
Labor is calling on the government to bring forward support for workers and business as the number of jobseekers surges and more businesses close their doors.
The coronavirus supplement – paid at a rate of $550 per fortnight – will effectively double the JobSeeker payment – the former Newstart allowance.
But the supplement won’t reach sacked workers until April 27.
The second payment won’t be paid until July 10, while pensioners and families will have to wait 16 weeks for the payment.
Economists expect the unemployment rate to surge in the coming months, possibly as high as 11 per cent, as the economy suffers its first recession in nearly 30 years.
That would be more than double the 5.1 per cent rate recorded in February and the highest rate since 1993, when the economy was still suffering from the last recession.