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CORONAVIRUS LIVE UPDATE: Harvey Norman Move To Close Stores

Harvey Norman has moved to close stores as analysts warn that a plunge in economic activity looms in the second quarter, as industries such as tourism, education and entertainment grind to a halt. CE and appliance distributors that have little if any liquidity or cash reserves are set to come under pressure, they warn along with retailers who were struggling ahead of the Coronavirus.

Westpac CEO Peter King has warned that they are ready to manage a rise in late payments, whilst remaining open to new lending.

It comes as Gerry Harvey, said that his Harvey Norman retail group had been forced to shut all of its stores in Slovenia causing mayhem for supply chains and retail workers.

“You just don’t know what’s going to happen from one day to the next,” Mr Harvey said. Harvey Norman has five stores in Slovenia.

Other Europe stores are facing the same issue. Australia has advised against gatherings of more than 500 people and has imposed a travel ban on arrivals from a number of countries including China, Iran and Italy.

King told the Financial Review that the big four banks are strong enough to withstand a sharp rise in bad debts and a freeze in credit markets but warned that the biggest issue was how long they can keep afloat business borrowers with no cash flow.

Mr King’s comments came after one of the most volatile weeks in financial markets history, that spilled into credit markets.

Some small distributors such as Residenta, Ayonz in the appliance market and in the Hi Fi market Convoy International, Advanced Audio and several who are now being told that they will not be paid following the cancellation of the recent Hi Fi 2000 show in Sydney are facing cash flow and product supply issues, as European suppliers are forced to close down.

On Friday, the Reserve Bank provided a record $8.8 billion of short-term financing to the money markets, which the banks tap for funding. That came a day after the Morrison government announced a $17.6 billion fiscal support package.

The Reserve Bank is also expected to roll out a funding facility, similar in nature to the Bank of England’s term funding facility, that would encourage the banks to lend to small businesses and households even as interest rates fall to near-zero levels.

As of today Australia has effectively closed its borders, mandating international airport arrivals be forced into 14-day self-isolation as the coronavirus response is ramped up in an effort to slow the spread of the disease after a 20 per cent jump in cases on Sunday and a fifth death.

 

The national cabinet, comprising Scott Morrison and state and territory leaders, has been warned of an explosion in new infections over the next two months as COVID-19 cases across Australia surged towards 300 on Sunday.

Nike Close Down Stores 

US sportswear giant Nike has moved to close all it’s stores in Australia as well as in the USA because of the Coronavirus

The Australian and New Zealand stores will be closed from March 16 to 27, the company said in a statement.

Nike-owned stores in South Korea, Japan, most of China and in many other countries are currently open and will continue their normal operations.

“We are taking additional steps in other Nike-managed facilities, including the option to work from home,” it added.

Earlier this month Nike had temporarily closed its European headquarters in Netherlands after an employee was infected with the coronavirus.

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