Myer has said it will reopen the final 35 department stores still closed to customers from next Wednesday, May 27, bringing the retailer’s nearly two-month experiment as an online-only business to an end.
Myer closed all 60 of its bricks-and-mortar stores on March 29 amidst tightened social distancing restrictions from Federal and State Governments, which took a toll on foot traffic and sales.
At the time of the store closures, the department store said its focus was on protecting the health and well-being of its customers and team members and supporting the governments’ efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.
It was forced to stand down approximately 10,000 staff without pay across its store network and head office, but brought back around 20 per cent of team members to support the online business, which continued to trade through the shutdown.
The retailer reported an 800 per cent increase in online sales over Easter weekend and launched click-and-collect at select stores ahead of another anticipated spike in online shopping before Mother’s Day.
On May 8-9, Myer reopened seven stores on a trial basis in Queensland and New South Wales. It opened a further eight stores in New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia last weekend, and brought another 10 stores in those states back online earlier this week.
The stores feature a range of new safety measures, including hand sanitiser for staff and customers, sneeze guards and conactless payments at checkouts, signage about maintaining 1.5 metre social distancing, increased cleaning and more.
Some services, such as beauty appointments, intimate apparel fittings, suit fittings and shoe fittings have been suspended.
These same measures will be implemented across the remaining 35 stores set to reopen from next Wednesday, Myer said.
While some retailers that closed stores during the worst of the coronavirus took the opportunity to trim their networks when they reopened, Myer said the only store that won’t reopen from next Wednesday is in Karrinyup, Western Australia, which is undergoing refurbishment. It is due to reopen on May 30.
Click-and-collect services will remain in place and be available nationally going forward, Myer said.
Inside Retail asked Myer for further information about the return of staff amidst the reopenings, but had not received a reply at the time of publication.