Monday 30th March
The week that was….
The industry is in a form of lockdown with stores sparsely attended by sales staff, no browsing policies, and limits of those allowed to enter. April fools day came and went with not much to prank or much to laugh about.
On Monday, the federal cabinet banned gatherings of more than two people. According to the ABC News, shops and shopping centres are excluded from the two-person rule, excepting that one must not gather in the shop in groups of more than two.
Several key wholesalers we have spoken to are 100% operating from home, most staff are ‘still’ employed’. There were a few exceptions where wholesalers were forced to layoff some of their workforce. Music schools largely employing casual teachers are not operating across the country, while others are developing online teaching resources to meet demand. We are still selling, picking, packing, dispatching to our dealers.
In MI, it’s clear that whilst retailers can still operate, with the support of logistics, online MI stores will flourish. We’ve had reports of good online business to March 31. And in fact good business levels all round, as people stock up.
Manufacturers like Cole Clark and Maton are pushing on through and shipping guitars and not yet affected by any halt on their activities and the same. Maton too, continue production.
Retailers were reporting strong ‘Christmas like’ sales levels right through the week on top of a pretty good month. Operations have adapted with daily developments.
Banks will allow commercial landlords with loans of up to $10 million to delay their loan repayments by up to six months, on the condition tenants are not evicted due to the coronavirus crisis was another key announcement of the week. Banks are working with customers to help navigate difficult financial waters. Who’d a thought?
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $130 billion package to support the wages of up to 6 million Australians throughout the coronavirus crisis.
The “Jobkeeper” subsidy will be worth $1500 a fortnight. The government will pay employers to pay their employees,” he said.
“Our goal is to protect lives and livelihoods of Australians to protect and preserve the economy that we depend on and to get to the other side as well.” The PM said according to the media this afternoon.
This was great news for workers and allowed businesses to keep operating in a lot of cases.
Australia’s peak retail body will raise casuals’ eligibility for the new jobkeeper payment with the government after unions, Labor and the Greens raised concerns that those with less than 12 months of service are excluded from the $1,500 fortnightly payment.
The Australian Retail Association’s executive director, Russell Zimmerman, Tuesday told Guardian Australia (Tuesday) that casuals’ eligibility was an “area of concern” and the government should consider exceptions for people with less than 12 months’ service but a likely “continuation of their role” after Covid-19 shutdowns.
Overall, businesses could continue to trade, observing strict rules and restructuring their focus. What the next week will be interesting as every day brings something new.
Provided expected ‘shut downs’ will allow online and deliveries music retail can continue to operate.