Retailers close stores as Coronavirus bites

Peter Alexander in Westfield Penrith.
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More jobs are being lost as retailers shut their doors this week due to mounting pressures resulting from Coronavirus.

Premier Investments confirmed this morning it would close all of its retail stores until April 22, including Smiggle, Peter Alexander, Jay Jays, Just Jeans and Portmans.

Under current Federal and State Government restrictions, retail stores and shopping centres are still able to open.

However, more and more retailers are choosing to shut up shop as they try to survive the impact of Coronavirus.

“In Australia and New Zealand close to 70 per cent of stores are already in holdover or with leases expiring in 2020 providing the Group with maximum flexibility,” Premier Investments said in a statement.

“These extraordinary circumstances mean Premier intends not to pay any rent globally for the duration of the shutdown.”

Premier’s stores will remain open today ahead of a closure tonight, with staff being stood down.

“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,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, accessories retailer Lovisa – which has a store at Westfield Penrith and 400 outlets worldwide – will close its stores everywhere except Singapore, and stand down its retail workforce.

Lovisa at Westfield Penrith.

Athlete’s Foot, Skechers, Timberlands and Platypus will also close retail stores for four weeks.

Tarocash, YD and Connor are also planning to close stores at the end of the week and stand down staff.

General Pants will also shut across the country.

More retailers are expected to follow, essentially leaving shopping centres like Westfield Penrith as a ghost town.

Meanwhile, popular Penrith cafe Percy Plunkett has this morning confirmed they’ll close for the time being, after initially planning to operate a take away menu.

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