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“We are incredibly sorry”: Flight Centre to close 90 further stores

Embattled travel retailer Flight Centre is closing approximately 90 further stores across Australia, prompted by the continued domestic and international travel bans put in place to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

After the mass shutdown the business will hold a total national network of around 330 shops in its flagship brand, though 60 of these will remain in hibernation for the next six to 12 months. At the beginning of 2020, Flight Centre had over 900 stores.

Flight Centre Australia managing director James Kavanagh said the closures were carefully selected to deliver effective coverage for Australia consumers, and to reduce overlap between shops in high density areas.

“Without question, the past six months have been the most challenging period in our almost 40 year history,” Kavanagh said in a statement.

“We are incredibly sorry that some of our great people are not able to continue on their Flight Centre journey with us at this time but we are taking steps to preserve as many roles as possible for the future, while building a smaller but stronger overall network.”

The decision came just days after business support measures were cut, with JobKeeper cuts lowering the assistance given to retailers in one of the most difficult times the industry has seen, and months after the business suffered a $510 million full year loss.

According to the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, the industry provides over $28 billion to the economy each year, and deserves targeted assistance similar to that received by other sectors, such as construction, arts, and aviation.

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