Rip Curl and Kathmandu shut down 175 stores and lay off 1,300 employees

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Kathmandu will shut down 175 stores after falling victim to the coronavirus pandemic – leaving 1,300 employees out of work.

The retailer, which also owns Rip Curl, announced it would close all of its stores across Australia on Friday.

Staff will be stood down for four weeks without pay. Senior executives will see their salaries slashed by 20 per cent, ABC reported.

The brand’s New Zealand stores have already closed after the country went into a four-week lockdown on Wednesday night.

The retailer will continue operate online and its head office staff will work from home. 

The move comes as stricter social distancing rules are implemented to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus. 

‘Our total focus is to protect the health and wellbeing of our terms and customers and ensure business continuity,’ Kathmandu CEO Xavier Simonet said.

‘I am so grateful to all our teams around the world for their resilience in this situation of uncertainty and challenges.’ 

Australia currently has 3,050 cases, 13 people have died from the illness.

Australians are being urged to stay at home if they can, and only leave their houses if it is essential. 

The restrictions have seen a number of businesses close, including Glassons, Portmans, General Pants, Peter Alexander, Smiggle and Just Jeans due to declining business.

Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments, which owns General Pants, Smiggle, and Peter Alexander, shut all its Australian stores at 6pm on Thursday.

Around 9,000 of the company’s staff around the world will be stood down without pay until at least April 22.

The company said it does not intend to pay rent on any of its stores. Around 70 per cent of its leases in Australia and New Zealand run out this year or are already expired.

The group’s bosses will be working from home without pay.

RAG Group, which owns Tarocash, YD and Connor, is closing 500 stores and standing down 3,000 workers from 5pm on Friday.

Meanwhile, Accent Group – which owns Athlete’s Foot, Platypus and Hype – has announced it is closing 522 stores and standing down around 5,000 staff.

The company will close all stores from 5pm on Friday for four weeks.

During the stand down period, employees will continue to accrue entitlements and may access their annual and long service leave entitlements.

ALH pub group has stood down 8,000 workers and jeweller Michael Hill has told 2,500 people they no longer have a job.

Flight Centre has announced 3,800 job losses in Australia – and 6,000 globally – after the Prime Minister banned going overseas.

Pubs and gyms have been forced to close to prevent mass gatherings.

Cafes and restaurants are only allowed to offer a takeaway service.  

Thousands of Australians have already been left without work as a result of the changes. 

Centrelink offices have been flooded with desperate Aussies hoping to get the job seeker benefit. 

The government has been working to soften the blow to the economy, pledging to support workers who lose their jobs. 

Scott Morrison announced an extra $66billion worth of spending on Sunday, bringing the total survival package to $189billion – or 10 percent of Australia’s GDP.

A series of bills was approved on Monday night, with two packages worth $17.6billion and $66billion at the heart of the Morrison government’s response.

In separate legislation, the government set aside a further $40billion for urgent and unforeseen spending associated with the pandemic, likely to cause a recession.

The government will no longer need legislation to make changes to welfare settings after passing an amendment to the package, giving the social services minister unprecedented powers.

The money is to help businesses survive the shutdown, and to help people buy food and pay their bills through an extended period when they might be unable to work due to quarantines and lockdowns.

It includes wage subsidies so businesses can keep staff on the payroll even when money is not coming in, and early superannuation access for people struggling to make ends meet. A number of welfare payments almost doubled.

Banks have also offered a six-month repayment holiday for mortgage holders.

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