The company that owns the Australia-New Zealand distribution rights to footwear brands like The Athlete's Foot, Hype DC, Skechers, Vans and Dr. Martens has today made the "difficult decision" to temporarily close its network of more than 470 stores.
Accent Group (ASX: AX1) - which also has the rights to sell Platypus Shoes, Merrell, CAT, Saucony, Timberland, Sperry Top-Sider, Palladium and Stance - made the call in the interests of staff health and safety.
Stores will close from 5pm on Friday 27 March for a period of four weeks, affecting almost 4,200 employees.
The company says its retail employees and the majority of support office employees will be stood down without pay for that period, but they will still accrue entitlements and may access their annual and long service leave.
The Group will continue to trade through its 18 websites and wholesale business.
"It is with a heavy heart that we have made this decision, but we believe this to be in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of our team members," says CEO Daniel Agostinelli.
"The Company intends to do everything possible to return the business to normal operations when environmental conditions normalise whilst always prioritising the safety and wellbeing of our team."
Updated at 11:03am AEDT on 26 March 2020.