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Wesfarmers Shuts All Retail Stores In Melbourne For 6 Weeks

Wesfarmers has confirmed that it will close its retail stores in Melbourne for six weeks from midnight on 5th August, in line with the Victorian government’s stage 4 COVID-19 lockdowns.

In the first round of COVID-19 lockdowns, Wesfarmers was able to keep its stores open throughout the period, and witnessed surging sales at Bunnings, Kmart and Officeworks.

Although Wesfarmers will not be servicing customers in-store at any of its stores, some retailers will remain open to certain customers. For example, Bunnings stores in Melbourne will remain open for trade customers, and Officeworks stores will continue to service business customers.

Kmart and Target will not offer any in-store services.

All of Wesfarmers’ will continue their online operations, through home delivery and contactless click-and-collect options.

“While government restrictions allow for the COVID safe operation of distribution centres and other supply chain operations, the Group’s retail businesses are working with suppliers and the Victorian Government to assess the impact of the restrictions on supply chain operations as well as timely fulfilment of online orders,” Wesfarmers stated.

Last financial year, 17% of Wesfarmers total retail sales were made at stores in metropolitan Melbourne.

This six-week closure will apply to 53 Bunnings stores, 39 Kmarts, 34 Targets, and 42 Officeworks in metropolitan Melbourne.

“Our businesses are well equipped to further adapt their operations to continue to safely support customers and suppliers through these restrictions, with a focus on supporting business, trades and home delivery as well as contactless click and collect in many of our Melbourne metropolitan stores,” said Rob Scott, Managing Director of Wesfarmers.

Wesfarmers has channelled more investment into expanding its online operations since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.

The company also announced that it would provide paid pandemic leave to eligible permanent and casual team members who may be required to self-isolate pending COVID-19 test results or other related reasons.

However, there are also concerns about how many employees may stand down. Wesfarmers has 25,000 store workers in Victoria, and must decide how many staff it needs to keep on to handle online orders, click and collect and trades services.

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