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Jeweller Michael Hill shuts 300 stores, thousands of jobs at risk

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

High street jewellery seller Michael Hill is closing its doors in the wake of the coronavirus impact, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

High street jewellery seller Michael Hill is closing its doors in the wake of the coronavirus impact, putting thousands of jobs at risk.

In a statement to the ASX this morning, Michael Hill said it had been monitoring the effect of COVID-19 on its major markets, which include Australia and New Zealand.

The retailer said the Federal Government's new social distancing guidelines, which require four square metres to be provided per person in any enclosed space, were "not consistent with the day-to-day conduct of our business".

"The drop off in trade the company has experienced in Australia also reflects a customer base that is, of course, focused on more immediate issues," it said.

Michael Hill said it would close its 165 Australian stores immediately, and for an indefinite period of time. Stores in New Zealand will also be shut immediately, as the country moves into complete shutdown.

The high street jeweller employs around 2500 workers across its 300 stores worldwide, who will now be stood down.

"The board and management team have acted swiftly today following the extraordinary circumstances that are impacting the Australian and New Zealand retail markets," company chair Emma Hill said.

"Whilst it is clear that the suspension of our store networks is necessary for the safety and wellbeing of our people and our customers – we know also that this will be a time of great uncertainty for them too, and we are doing our best to provide them with the support that they need through this difficult time."

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What's closed during the coronavirus shutdown.

Michael Hill said it will take a range of "urgent" measures to safeguard cashflow including suspending its 1.5 cent per share dividend, which was set to be paid on Friday, for six months.

The business will also look to cut staff at its support centre in order to reduce costs.

Retailers around Australia have been hit hard by the virus pandemic in recent weeks.

What is social distancing?

 Social distancing involved minimising contact with people and maintaining a distance of over one metre between you and others.

When practicing social distancing, you should avoid public transport, limit non-essential travel, work from home and skip large gatherings.

It is okay to go outdoors. However, when you do leave home, avoid touching your face and frequently wash your hands.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-michael-hill/3809f7ad-e0c2-444f-8818-5182d65e6853

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