The latest Covid-19 lockdown restrictions now apply to non-essential retail in South Australia, as well as greater Sydney and Victoria, forcing electrical and appliance retailers to close their stores and only serve customers via home delivery or Click & Collect services.
Adelaide-based Rawsons Appliances is the latest victim to the Covid-19 restrictions announced this morning for South Australia.
“We will be closing down from 6pm tonight for the next seven days in line with the full lockdown announced this morning,” sales director Jon Pysing told Appliance Retailer.
The lockdown announcement out of South Australia also impacts Adelaide-based Spartan Electrical and the operation of its two stores.
“However, we’re pivoting to still be available to customers in need of urgent appliance replacements like fridges, freezers, washers, dryers etc,” head of marketing, Ryan Burgess told Appliance Retailer.
“We’re increasing the hours our online chat is manned, we will divert the phones to staff who are working to take those enquiries remotely, with remote access to our POS system. These staff will be able to help our customers with stock levels, pricing and orders, which will then be able to be delivered via our contactless delivery service.
“As a business, we remain committed to assisting South Australians going through these challenging times and we strongly believe that key household appliances are essential items in the proper function of a household,” he added.
Bi-Rite owner, Abdul Kayum Sacur said while the retailer fully supports the lockdowns and their purpose, it is hard not to feel a level of frustration with the different rulings by state, as well as the changes made to what ‘essential retail’ is with short notice.
“We are fortunate that our business has been setup in a way that our office workers can seamlessly work from home as well as our stores being able to engage with customers through our website via Click & Collect or home delivery, social media, phone and email,” he told Appliance Retailer.
“Lockdown protocol has become a standard over the last 19 months and we have become accustomed to the reality that this is the world we live in right now. As frustrating and tough that these lockdowns can be, the end goal with vaccine rollout ramping up, there is what we hope to be an end in sight.”
Camera House which has stores located across all affected areas has advised that it will continue to support customers through its online channels.
“Managing the business during Covid-19 has been a challenge like no other, but I am proud of the team in all of our stores, particularly as the rules around trading vary from state to state and market to market,” managing director,David Burlewtold Appliance Retailer.
“I am proud too of the head office and warehouse team as they continue to supply our Camera House stores. We are open for business during this time and while we may not be able to accommodate customers face to face in all our stores, we have an extremely efficient online channel that stands ready to support all our customers.”
All Myer stores are temporarily closed in South Australia and Victoria, with the option of shopping online for home delivery or contactless Click & Collect. Myer stores in greater Sydney are also temporarily closed but stores in regional NSW remain open.
David Jones stores in greater Sydney and Victoria remain closed with contactless delivery available to customers, as well as contactless Click & Collect at select stores. David Jones stores in South Australia closed at the end of trade on Monday with contactless delivery and Click & Collect options available to customers.
Suppliers respond to lockdowns impacting retail and construction
Responding to the latest restrictions on non-essential retail, as well as the halt to construction work in greater Sydney, Smeg Australia managing director, Wayne Campbell reiterated that the health and safety of staff, consumers and retailer partners, and following the NSW government’s COVID safe requirements, remain his priority.
“The Sydney distribution centre remains operational with split A and B teams and contactless delivery of appliances and spare parts to retailers, consumers and commercial warehouses. Field technicians are responding to essential repairs only while customer service, internal sales, administration and other support staff remain working from home,” Campbell said in a statement to Appliance Retailer.
“We are continuing to provide virtual assistance for consumers with functional and product related queries via email@example.com or 02 8667 4888. I’d like to sincerely thank the Smeg national team and our retail and commercial partners for their continued support.”
Miele has made the decision to close its Experience Centres in New South Wales and Victoria.
“Miele will never compromise the safety and wellbeing of our customers or staff and so we made the decision to close our NSW and VIC Experience Centres, providing a click and collect service even while we were legally allowed to trade as we felt this was the right thing to do from a moral standpoint,” Miele Australia and New Zealand sales director, Chris Kotis said in a statement to Appliance Retailer.
“We will respond to the pause in construction in NSW by providing our trade partners and customers appropriate service and support as soon as restrictions ease. Understandably, such closures will have an impact on our business in the short term, however we are confident that appropriate measures are in place to manage through this challenging time.”
The primary focus at Electrolux Home Products is making sure employees and partners are supported throughout the lockdown.
“We appreciate the physical store closures are incredibly challenging for retailers and their employees. Electrolux is continuing to undertake deliveries to consumers and stores and maintain our call centre operations so retail operations of our partners are able to continue without added interruption,” EHP communications manager, Mark Goodwin said in a statement to Appliance Retailer.
“We look forward to working with our commercial partners too throughout this time so are we are able to resume regular operations as soon as possible.”