Multiple retail stores close due to COVID-19

IN AN ominous sign for business across the Clarence, several major retailers shut up shop indefinitely.

Mosaic Brands, which owns Rivers, Millers, Noni B, Autograph, Crossroads and Rockmans, among others, announced it would be closing its stores as of yesterday evening and stood down 6800 staff.

When The Daily Examiner contacted one local retailer affected by the announcement, staff had not yet been told they would be stood down.

The move will have significant ramifications for the Clarence, with at least eight stores being affected, seven of which are situated in Grafton Shoppingworld.

Carol Durrant, assistant manager at Rockmans on Prince St, said while the impact could be "disastrous" for the local economy in the long term, it was not unexpected.

She said there had been a significant decline in the number of shoppers during the past week.

"Well, we knew it had to come as both my daughters are in retail in Queensland and they had been shut for the last week - it had to come," she said.

Ms Durrant said the downturn in shoppers was a sign the community understood the new social distancing measures.

"I think people are realising it is non-essential and we haven't seen a soul all day," Ms Durrant said.

"They are really getting the message."

The food court at Grafton Shoppingworld is almost deserted during peak lunch time on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020, with all tables and chairs removed due to takeaway-only restrictions due to social distancing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The food court at Grafton Shoppingworld is almost deserted during peak lunch time on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020, with all tables and chairs removed due to takeaway-only restrictions due to social distancing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Bill North

For anyone who ventured into Grafton Shoppingworld it was impossible not to notice the impact the pandemic was having at a local level.

The chairs have been removed from the food court with the recently announced ban on indoor eateries and there were few people out shopping.

The food court at Grafton Shoppingworld is almost deserted during peak lunch time on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020, with all tables and chairs removed due to takeaway-only restrictions due to social distancing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The food court at Grafton Shoppingworld is almost deserted during peak lunch time on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020, with all tables and chairs removed due to takeaway-only restrictions due to social distancing measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Bill North

Mosaic Brands said in their announcement the measures were temporary.

"All team members affected by the store closures will be stood down with access to leave entitlements while the group reviews government support schemes that may be available to them," they stated.

"The group has recently seen a significant drop in store traffic and revenue, a direct result of the community's response to the COVID-19 outbreak and the government's social distancing recommendations."

Millers traded for the last day in Grafton Shoppingworld on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020 as one of the Mosaic Brands stores to shut down nationwide due to the coronavirus crisis.
Millers traded for the last day in Grafton Shoppingworld on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020 as one of the Mosaic Brands stores to shut down nationwide due to the coronavirus crisis. Bill North

A Grafton Shoppingworld spokesperson said the announcement would affect seven stores in the centre but noted the centre would remain fully open.

"The centre is constantly liaising with all relevant authorities and will follow all directives in regard to its operation to ensure a safe environment for all," the spokesperson said.

<< Follow this link to stay up to date with the latest coronavirus information specific to the Clarence Valley >>

Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis had been speaking with businesses around the Clarence and said while the situation was "heartbreaking" he wanted to emphasise to businesses they were not alone.

"I have been letting them know they are not alone and there is assistance for them," he said.

"The government is there to provide support and we all need to work through this together. It is heartbreaking because these people are really doing it tough and I think the message is we do care about you and we just need to work through this together.

"We will get through this."

Rivers traded for the last day in Grafton Shoppingworld on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020 as one of the Mosaic Brands stores to shut down nationwide due to the coronavirus crisis.
Rivers traded for the last day in Grafton Shoppingworld on Wednesday, 25th March, 2020 as one of the Mosaic Brands stores to shut down nationwide due to the coronavirus crisis. Bill North


CORONAVIRUS: Couple in hotel lockdown hold grave concerns

premium_icon CORONAVIRUS: Couple in hotel lockdown hold grave concerns

‘Someone was having a major meltdown … followed by security telling him that he was...

GROCERY DELIVERY: Clarence businesses helping our residents

GROCERY DELIVERY: Clarence businesses helping our residents

Clarence Valley businesses and producers have come to the rescue with local grocery...

REVEALED: Where Clarence COVID cases are by postcode

premium_icon REVEALED: Where Clarence COVID cases are by postcode

NSW Health has just released data that breaks down the location of coronavirus...