Michael Hill will temporarily close all its Canadian stores amid the coronavirus pandemic, while locations in Australia and New Zealand currently remain open.
The jeweler’s Canadian stores are set to shut for a two-week period, but the company will reevaluate and may lift or extend the shutdown as necessary based on the health situation, it said last week. During the closure, most of the jeweler’s workforce will either be given leave without pay, or may take unused vacation time.
Additionally, the company will not provide revenue guidance for the fiscal year ending June 30, as it has not fully assessed the impact of the virus on its sales.
“In the last two weeks there has been a significant drop off in foot traffic in each of our trading markets and we are seeing a corresponding impact on sales,” the jeweler said. “The company will provide further details when they are available as part of our regular [third-quarter] trading update in early April. [We] have not provided guidance on earnings for the current financial year, and are not in a position to [give] a reliable forecast.”
Any existing analyst forecasts are also not reliable, as they were prepared without taking into account the current trading environment, Michael Hill observed.
The retailer plans to reduce any non-essential spending during this time, and will implement a hiring and travel freeze, it said. It is also speaking with its landlords about temporary rent relief during the shutdowns.
“During these challenging times, the health and safety of our people and customers are foremost in our minds,” said Michael Hill CEO Daniel Bracken. “The board and management team are confident that the business will be able to continue to work constructively with all of its stakeholders to navigate the uncertainties presented by the COVID-19 public-health crisis. We are focused on taking all necessary actions to reduce our costs and cash outflows so that they better match the very subdued demand in all our markets.”