Voluntary administrators steering the fortunes of retailer Colette by Colette Hayman (CBCH) have opted to close the company's remaining 93 stores in Australia, putting health first in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The closures will affect 210 permanent staff as well as casuals, who were all advised today that business would close at the end of trading hours until further notice.
The handbag and accessories retailer had 33 of its stores closed in February as part of a restructuring plan to sell the 105-store business.
Since then the company has already shut down outlets in New Zealand in adherence to strict government social distancing measures,
"Until today, we have been able to effectively manage shopfront operations in what is a rapidly changing public health and trading environment," says administrator Vaughan Strawbridge of Deloitte Restructuring Services.
"But the reality is that Covid-19 presents a health risk in a retail environment, and without being able to guarantee a safe environment for store employees, and with their health a priority, we have had to make this decision to cease trading across the 93 store network in Australia.
"These are extraordinary times, and there is also no certainty that many retail operators in Australia will be able to continue trading amidst so much uncertainty and with public health measures changing so frequently."
Employees are being stood down with access to certain leave entitlements and every support possible to ensure they can access relevant government support services.
Online sales and order deliveries are not affected.
"We hope to re-open the bricks and mortar business when this unprecedented public health threat has passed, but when that will be, we cannot be certain at this time," he said.
Updated at 5:16pm AEDT on 26 March 2020.
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