Latest lockdown, ‘devastating blow’ for retailers

Retail associations unanimously agree that the latest Covid-19 lockdown in Victoria, is a ‘devastating blow’ for the retail industry.

The National Retail Association’s (NRA) CEO, Dominique Lamb says, “Unfortunately, it’s a case of groundhog day for Victorian retailers who are set to endure their third hard-lockdown in less than 12 months.”

“Although this lockdown is only due to last five days, that can still have a massive disruption on a business. Many retailers can’t just shut and open their business-like flicking on a switch – they need to ensure sufficient stock levels, organise rosters and comply with updated safety restrictions.”

CEO of Australian Retailers Association, Paul Zahra touches on the alignment this lockdown has with this weekend’s Valentine’s Day.

“Last minute shopping will be curtailed, and romantic dinner date plans have been dashed. That’s a massive blow for restaurants who would have been fully booked for one of their busiest nights of the year.

“At the moment, businesses are at the mercy of the different approaches from the various Premiers with very little planning time around what the latest restrictions mean.”

Ms Lamb says, “Adding to the pain is the fact that Victorian retailers were just getting back on their feet following the second lockdown, notching up a record $14.4 billion in sales for Christmas 2020.”

Speaking of the potential roll out of vaccines, Mr Zahra concludes, “The vaccines can’t come soon enough, but even when they’re rolled out, we’ll still be living with Covid for some time, so the existing challenges remain for retail”.

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