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Melbourne retailers rejoice reopening for trade

With Melbourne retailers able to open their stores from tomorrow, Appliance Retailer has spoken to local and national appliance retailers for feedback on the easing of COVID-19 restrictions announced by Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews.

E&S co-owner, Rob Sinclair said he is super excited to be able to deliver the exceptional E&S service to customers in-store again.

“COVID-19 has delivered scenarios never seen before, which has forced organisations to adapt and evolve. E&S has never worked harder in developing the business to compete in the new marketplace,” he told Appliance Retailer.

“For the last two to three weeks, we have already been preparing and organising deliveries and allocating stock for our customers. The work we have done online has been tremendous, but we are looking forward to welcoming customers – both existing and new – into our showrooms with COVID-19 safety measures in place.”

Put simply, Camberwell Electrics owner, Hans Vanderstadt said “at last”.

“Melbournians have done an amazing job through the past three months in lockdown. It’s been the most frustrating and tyring time brought upon us all,” he told Appliance Retailer.

“The state government started the COVID-19 wildfire in Victoria – they are not the heroes for putting out the fire they caused; the Melbourne public are the heroes. The federal government have done a very good job managing all the unknowns and I feel for small business, restaurants and gyms, as well as family businesses that won’t open again and landlords with empty shops.

“It’s been hard on smaller retailers while online retailers have benefited from COVID-19 and I ask suppliers to look after the smaller independent local retailers.

“We look forward to welcoming customers back into our showroom and getting on with the business of selling.”

Winning Retail CEO, Jo Devery welcomed the announcement that restrictions will ease in Victoria with Winning Appliances and Rogerseller showrooms open from tomorrow.

“We are incredibly proud of our showroom teams, who have been going above and beyond to provide customers with exceptional experiences, whilst they have been working from home, whether that be over the phone, on video chat or through our website,” she told Appliance Retailer.

“We look forward to welcoming customers back into our showrooms with COVID safe measures in place, including showroom limits, social distancing, face masks and hand sanitizing.”

BSR Group CEO, Graeme Cunningham said the re-opening is great news for not only the people of Melbourne and Victoria, but for the national economy.

“It’s been very tough for everyone in Melbourne for a long time so we are pleased that our stores can resume normal and safe trading in the run up to Christmas and that business in general can begin to re-build. All of our stores are looking forward to welcoming customers in store again,” he told Appliance Retailer.

The Large Format Retail Association (LFRA) also welcomed the announcement.

“Our sector will ensure strict operating measures are in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing of customers and staff to ensure that we can trade in a Covid safe way,” LFRA CEO, Philippa Kelly said.

“The significant size of our stores enables social distancing and owners are ensuring thorough and rigorous cleaning measures are in place. The Large Format sector has been trading well in other Australian states as people have directed their spend to upgrading their homes and building their own oasis. Melbournians will now be able to join the nesting trend as Melbourne retail reopens for face to face trading.

“The announcement is also very timely for customers, who can now start their shopping for Christmas. The expansive layouts of Homemaker Centres and individual Large Format Retail stores provide customers with peace of mind they can keep their distance as they browse for products and make a purchase.

“For those who still don’t want to head into the store many retailers are running Click and Collect services whilst others have mastered contactless delivery of products direct to your home.”

The LFRA consists of more than 135 large format members including Harvey Norman, Spotlight, Beacon Lighting, JB Hi-Fi, Adairs and IKEA.  

The National Retail Association (NRA) CEO Lindsay Carroll said that members across Victoria are breathing a sigh of relief and that the news could not come sooner with less than one month until the Christmas trade period officially commences.

“Victorian retailers have been left reeling by the COVID-19 wrecking ball and we’re just glad that our members in the state will be able to reopen their doors to customers,” Carroll said.

“Every day that businesses have remained shut has added to the economic pain inflicted on Victorian retailers. New South Wales has shown how to balance public safety while having limited business restrictions and we hope that this is the route Victoria now takes.

“The lead up to Christmas will be instrumental in determining whether many businesses survive. The Christmas retail trade period is worth more than $13 billion to the Victorian economy, its importance simply can’t be overstated. Common-sense has prevailed and we urge Victorian shoppers to support their local retailers.”

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