Jewellery retailer Michael Hill (ASX: MHJ) will close all stores in Australia and New Zealand indefinitely as consumer sentiment nosedives.
In a statement to the ASX Michael Hill says the current conduct of its business is not in line with social distancing guidelines, and immediately shutting down its physical store network is in the best interests of staff and customers.
The group's Canadian store network was suspended on 20 March this will now be for an indefinite period.
Michael Hill's e-commerce business will continue as usual.
In all markets employees will be stood down with access to leave entitlements while government support schemes are assessed.
On 25 February, the company announced an interim dividend of 1.5c per share, with an exdividend date of 12 March 2020. In light of expected interruptions to trade the Board has decided to defer payment of that dividend for a period of six months.
"Whilst it is clear that the suspension of our store networks is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of our people and our customers we know also that this will be a time of great uncertainty for them too, and we are doing our best to provide them with the support that they need through this difficult time," says Michael Hill chair Emma Hill.
Updated at 8.37am AEDT on 24 March 2020.
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