More companies shed staff, close shops citing coronavirus

Rivers Torquay is one of 1379 Australian stores Mosaic Brands will close.

Tens of thousands of Australian jobs were shed today as businesses plan for losses stemming and set to come from the COVID-19 led economic slow-down, now expected to be a global recession.

Mosaic Brands – which controls Autograph, Katies, Millers, Noni B, Rivers and Rockmans, amongst other national marques – announced it would stand down 6800 staff and shut 1379 stores.

Katies at Lakeside Joondalup, about 28 kilometres north of the Perth CBD.

Like Michael Hill, which on Tuesday closed 304 outlets globally, resulting in 1600 Australian job losses, Mosaic said it cannot trade given newly introduced social distancing measures.

In January, Mosaic told the market that because of the bush fires, revenue fell some 8 per cent over the important November and December shopping period (that said, it still paid $50,000 cash to appeals and donated $1 million of stock to charity GIVIT).

The company still intends to sell its brands online.

Melbourne based Naomi Milgrom – owner of womenswear retailers including Sportsgirl and Sussans – stood down 1300 casual staff but kept 1800 full and part timers on full wages.

Also, today Star Hotel Group let go of some 8000 of its 9000 employees.

Star has been forced to shut its Sydney and Brisbane casinos, a move which is also affecting the occupancy rates of its hotels.

On Monday Crown – which trades in Melbourne and Perth – closed its bars, casinos, clubs and restaurants – but stopped short of saying whether it would reduce its c18,500 (including contractors) workforce.

Crown said some 4000 businesses depend on it for various functions, too.

The Australian Hotels Association estimates about 250,000 people are directly employed in the hospitality sector.

More job losses are expected from groups in the live music industry (which it is estimated employs about 15,000 people) and in film and television, where production has largely stopped.

In aviation news, Virgin Australia temporarily suspended its budget Tigerair brand and dismissed 8000 workers.

All up it is grounding 125 planes from Friday when it expects to announce another round of job losses.

Earlier this month Qantas made 20,000 roles redundant.

Woolworths’ Endeavour Group – which a fortnight ago bought two regional Queensland hotels from ALH – this week axed 8000 hotel staff. The parent also scrapped its earning guidance and postponed a de-merger.

Woodside Petroleum removed 500 positions on Tuesday.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of