Coronavirus Australia: Fashion retailer Mosaic Brands shuts down 288 stories since the start of the pandemic

Women’s clothing store owners Noni B, Rivers and Katies close 288 stores in a retail massacre caused by the pandemic – a day after stationery brand kikki.K collapsed in Australia


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Australian fashion retailer Mosaic Brands has revealed it has closed 288 stores since the start of the pandemic, just a day after beloved stationery brand kikki.K collapsed.

The company, which owns brands such as Rivers, Katies and Noni B, has had to close no fewer than 165 stores since February this year.

“The group continued to work with landlords to adapt our retail rentals to the realities brought on by the pandemic,” the document said, filed with the ASX.

Australian fashion retailer Mosaic Brands, which owns stores such as Rivers, Katies (pictured) and Noni B, revealed in its annual report that it had closed as many as 165 stores since February.

Australian fashion retailer Mosaic Brands, which owns stores such as Rivers, Katies (pictured) and Noni B, revealed in its annual report that it had closed as many as 165 stores since February.

‘That is why the group closed 242 stores in the entire period (financial year 2020-21) where economic lettings could not be realised.’

A market update revealed that the number of store closures had risen significantly from 123 in February to 212 just three months later in May, news.com.au reported.

In a grim prediction of the company’s future, CEO Scott Evans said he expects 500 stores to close.

The report attributes the massive closure to stubborn landlords who had “pre-pandemic expectations” and refused to cut rents.

President Richard Facioni revealed the dismal update during the company’s latest corporate presentation, trying to put a positive spin on the closures.

Mr Facioni defended the move, saying the company has acted “quickly and defensively” in the face of the unpredictable Covid-19 pandemic.

He said Mosaic Brands took the lead as a leader “in publicly addressing non-commercial and inflexible leases that the pandemic has highlighted.”

The chairman said a series of tough decisions have been made to steer the company in the right direction, including increasing margins, reducing inventory and preserving cash.

Mr Facioni said his company was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and had suffered greatly in the retail massacre that followed.

The company – which also oversees retailers Crossroads, Autograph, Rivers, Millers and W.Lane – still operates 1,091 stores across Australia.

More to come.

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