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BREAKING NEWS: Wesfarmers Close Kmart Stores Harvey Norman Tipped To Follow

Wesfarmers the operators of Target, Bunnings, Officeworks and Kmart has announced that the closure of 25 New Zealand K Mart stores, ChannelNews understands that Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi will be forced to close their stores in New Zealand following a Government ruling effective from today, Noel Leeming is also closing down.

In today’s announcement there was no denial of claims that Wesfarmers are set to close down their Target stores in Australia that currently employ over 12,000 people.

The WA Company said that at this stage, State and Federal government measures in Australia do not require the closure of retail stores. Bunnings, Kmart, Target and Officeworks stores across Australia are operating under standard or near-standard trading hours.

As a result of announcements made by the New Zealand Government on 23 March 2020, relating to the restriction of ‘nonessential’ services from midnight on 25 March 2020 for a period of four weeks Wesfarmers has taken the following action.

  • Kmart’s 25 New Zealand stores will be closed.
  • Bunnings’ 53 locations in New Zealand will remain open to trade customers but will be closed to the general public.

The Group’s Industrial and Safety businesses in New Zealand provide a number of essential products and

are currently working with the New Zealand Government to confirm that operations can continue.

The Company said that revenue from its New Zealand operations represent approximately 8 per cent of the Group’s total annual revenue. Revenue from Kmart New Zealand represents less than 3 percent of the Group’s total annual revenue.

Wesfarmers also confirmed that the Group will pay its previously declared fully franked interim dividend of $0.75 per share on 31 March 2020.

At 12.00 noon today Wesfarmers shares were trading at $32.23 up 1.73%.

Conflict among retailers and the New Zealand Government has broken out.

Yesterday New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said “Don’t expect to be able to go down to your local Warehouse during the four-week lockdown”.

The Warehouse Group also own Noel Leeming.

In an announcement to the share market on Tuesday morning, The Warehouse said it was a provider of key consumer goods for New Zealanders and its 92 Warehouse stores and distribution centres would remain open.

“In the past two weeks the group has seen unprecedented demand for essential items across all our brands. Goods sold included essential items to prepare themselves for the mandatory isolation period of at least four weeks,” the retailer said.

Now the Company has suspended trading on the NZ stock exchange after the Company lost their battle with the New Zealand Government.

According to Stuff, shares for The Warehouse Group initially rose on the announcement, but at 1.49 pm yesterday a trading halt was placed on the company.

In a second announcement to the stock exchange at 3.42pm it said there was considerable uncertainty around what meets the definition of essential businesses “and which products and services they are able to provide”.

It said it was in talks with government on which categories The Warehouse might still be able to sell once New Zealand goes into level 4 and expected to make another announcement today but at 2.43pm New Zealand time no announcement has been made.

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