Myer stores closed, 10,000 staff stood down

Myer stores closed, 10,000 staff stood down
Department store Myer (ASX: MYR) is the latest retailer to shut down in the face of strict gathering restrictions and government advice regarding Covid-19.

To protect the wellbeing of customers, team members and the broader community, Myer will close all stores from the close of business on Sunday 29 March for an initial period of four weeks until 27 April 2020.

Myer's online business will remain operational during the period and the company has reduced the threshold for free delivery to $49 per order.

Because of the closures 10,000 Myer team members across the group's store network and support staff will be stood down.

Staff will not be paid during the four-week closure period, but full time and part time members will be given access to their annual leave and long service leave entitlements in addition to government financial support measures.

A small team working in business-critical roles will be kept on to undertake essential work and to support the online store. These staff will be operating on 80 per cent of their normal salaries and contracted hours.

"The decision to temporarily close all Myer stores and stand down so many loyal and dedicated team members is one of the toughest decisions this Company has faced in its 120 years of operation," says Myer CEO John King.

"Our focus must remain on operating our business in a manner that protects the health and wellbeing of customers and team members, whilst supporting the government, and the communities in which we operate, in limiting the spread of COVID-19."

"We will focus on ensuring we offer the best possible online experience for our customers, whilst being ready to restart the business in four weeks."

Fellow department store David Jones will remain open for the time being.

The company says it is monitoring the situation closely, but believes the large size of its stores will enable it to comply better with social distancing measures than other small-scale retailers.

"We have two smaller stores, Barangaroo, Sydney and James Street, Brisbane, where it is not practical to comply with the social distancing protocols as mandated by the government, so we have taken the decision to close these stores for a period of at least four weeks," says David Jones.

"All our other Australian stores remain open at this time, but please ensure you're up to date with our latest trading hours before your next visit."

The parent company of Country Road, Mimco, Politix, Trenery and Witchery announced the closure of its retail outlets on Saturday as coronavirus social distancing measures keeps Aussies inside.

Woolworths Holdings announced its stable of retailers will close until further notice on Saturday.

Updated at 8:30pm AEDT on 27 March 2020.

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