Iconic Australian apparel brand R.M.Williams has been "stopped in its tracks" by the Covid-19 crisis and forced to shut down all production at its South Australian workshop.
Effective today its workshop in Salisbury, Adelaide, will be closed until further notice, resulting in the standing down of 709 employees.
The company says it is working closely with the South Australian Government to navigate through the financial crisis to ensure it comes out the other end.
R.M.Williams, famous for its leather boots and majority owned by Singapore-based private equity firm L Catterton backed by luxury retail conglomerate LVMG, closed all of its stores and Boot Rooms in Australia, the US, UK and New Zealand on 28 March.
To support its staff the company will be offering all 709 permanent and part-time Australian team members two weeks salary, as well as encashment of accrued annual leave.
Founded in Adelaide in 1932 R.M.Williams has survived its fair share of crises; it has been through the worst of World War II and has continued to operate ever since.
"Now, 88 years later, the Covid-19 crisis has stopped us in our tracks," says R.M.Williams.
"At this moment in these unprecedented times, it is hard to see past the headlines and understand what lies ahead. Australia, and central to that fabric, R.M.Williams, has shown through the decades and through recent times with the drought and bushfires that we are a people who adapt through tenacity, perseverance and a pioneering spirit."
"We will always represent the Australian bush and the spirit of Australia."
The company's customer service team will remain available to field enquiries regarding boot repairs, online services and Made to Order and R.M.Williams' online store continues to be open for business.
While R.M.Williams has made the decision to close down its workshop, fellow iconic Australian brand Akubra says it will continue to work during the crisis.
"We are proudly still manufacturing the Australian Army Slouch hat in these tough times the world is facing," says an Akubra spokesperson.
Updated 11:31AM AEDT on 1 April 2020.
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