Updated: How retailers are helping bushfire-affected Australians

Coles has donated supplies and groceries to rural fire services.

While the Australian Government’s response to the catastrophic spread of bushfire throughout much of the country has been widely labelled as insufficient and tone deaf, many retailers and brands have taken it upon themselves to direct support to the people who need it most.

According to the ABC, over 1300 homes have been destroyed this fire season, with a further 501 homes damaged. And while conditions eased in both New South Wales and Victoria on Monday, the fires are expected to continue to burn for weeks. 

In response, both large-scale national bricks and mortar retailers, as well as smaller pureplay brands, have begun taking action to assist the thousands of Australians affected by the fires. 

“The retail community more generally is doing its part to provide help,” National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said. 

Australia Post has seen delivery in some regions impacted by the fires, and is reopening these services as it becomes safe to do so.

“All In”

More than 30 retailers pledged to donate profits from Thursday’s trade to the Australian Red Cross after General Pant’s CEO Sasha Laing urged businesses to come together to assist Australia in rebuilding.

“Collectively we cal all make a real difference if we do this together,” Laing wrote/

The Iconic, Temple & Webster, MJ Bale, Cue Clothing Co, Rodd & Gunn, City Chic, Hush Puppies, Life Interiors, and True Alliance group are some of the businesses taking part in the ‘All In’ initative, and donating 100 per cent of profits from the 9th January.

Supermarkets provide aid to affected communities

The big two supermarkets have also offered support for disaster services, with Coles donating $3 million in gift cards to rural fire brigades to stock up on supplies, as well as several pallets of food and groceries to Foodbank to distribute to devastated communities such as Cobargo and Bega, while Woolworths announced with would boost paid leave entitlements for team members committed to rural fire services.

Coles chief executive Steven Cain said their efforts were a tangible way to recognise and thank firefighters and volunteers working tirelessly to save homes, businesses and communities. 

According to Woolworths Group chief executive Brad Banducci, the supermarket had raised almost $1.3 million for the Salvos in the months to Christmas. 

IGA raised $280,000 to support those affected by the bushfires, as well as $355,000 worth of water, products and gift cards. The business also allows customers to donate in-store, and hopes to raise $1 million during the month of January.

Retailers donate dollars, supplies and expertise

Amazon Australia is contributing $1 million dollars to bushfire relief efforts, as well as donating water, food, safety clothing, building materials, and more specifically requested by volunteer-based organisation BlazeAid.

Catch will donate $50,000 to the Red Cross, and will enable customers to round up their purchase amounts to donate spare change to the bushfire appeal.

Department store Myer pledged to donate $150,000 to Salvos, and raised more than $325,000 toward the cause in December. A second campaign will begin starting 13 January to raise further funds.

Beauty brand Mecca vowed to donate $100,000 to the Red Cross’ bushfire recovery and relief fund, stating it is proud to be part of a community that supports each other when it matters most.

Similarly, Honey Birdette said it “cannot comprehend the terror of any person or animal facing or fighting these devastating fires”, and pledged to donate $15,000 to the Red Cross. 

The boohoo group contributed a total of $300,000 to WIRES, the Australian Red Cross and NSW RFS, while Forever New donated $100,000 to the Red Cross.

The Sussan Group evenly split $100,000 between Salvos and the Red Cross, and is also matching employee donations.

Fashion group Mosaic Brands announced a $50,000 donation to be made to Vinnies, as well as donating approximately $1 million worth of clothing to the GIVIT charity.

GlamCorner contributed $10,000 to the Red Cross, and pledged to match employee donations dollar-for-dollar to further support relief efforts.

US-based Tapestry Inc has made a $145,000 donation to relief efforts, and is also matching employee donations.

The PetBarn Foundation will provide $1.2 million of assistance through funds, food and supplies to emergency sites, as well as vets volunteering their time to assist with injured animals.

Several retailers also agreed to donate sales for a period to the relief efforts, with The Daily Edited supporting the NSW Rural Fire Service and VIC Country Fire Authority, as well as Salvos, by donating all proceeds of sales over a 24 hour period. 

Additionally, Camilla will hold an “archive auction” in which it will auction off rare pieces from past collections on Friday 10th January, with all proceeds being donated to fire assistance services. The brand will also donate 10 per cent of sales of its new collection over the week starting Wednesday 8th.

Ethical retailer Biome is planting a tree for every reusable lunch box or water bottle that sold between the 1st and 9th of January, and is donating to wildlife rescue groups.

Flora and Fauna said it wouldn’t be doing a sale for the bushfires, as it does not want to “profiteer in any way from this horrific disaster”, and instead directed its consumers to give directly to a number of charities and organisations helping those affected. 

Property groups give up space to charities and affected Australians

Shopping Centre owners Vicinity Centres, Stockland and Scentre Group are also looking to support those affected through assistance to fundraising efforts.

Vicinity Centres is contributing $250,000 evenly to Salvos and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, as well as provide free advertising space for raising awareness for bushfire appeals.

The group will also offer community space at its more than 60 centres for organisations coordinating a response to the crisis, and enable cash donations across these centres for Salvos, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, as well as state fire authorities.

Scentre Group will donate $500,000 to Salvos, as well as provide advertising space for the charity to raise further awareness of its recovery appeal.

Scentre Group chief executive Peter Allen said he considers every Westfield social infrastructure, and that this includes providing support for local emergency services as a place of refuge or shelter when needed, and will facilitate cash donations through its community desks.

Stockland has pledged $500,000 to support the recovery efforts of the Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal, as well as other charities.

The property business is also giving up space at retail town centres for charities to support fundraising efforts, and community spaces to support counselling and small bushiness recovery.

What can you do to help?

If your business wants to join the retailers and brands supporting ongoing relief efforts, consider finding a way to donate or support to charities and services helping those in need, including: 

Updated to include additional retailer and shopping centre owner actions.

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