JB Hi-Fi has temporarily closed all 14 of its New Zealand stores, a move made in response to the New Zealand government’s introduction of alert level four restrictions, which came into effect on 25 March.
The alert level four restrictions, introduced by the government in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus in the country, mean New Zealanders not working in essential services must stay at home and stop all interactions with others outside of their own households.
“Following the New Zealand government’s introduction of alert level four restrictions that limit all ‘non-essential’ businesses, JB Hi-Fi New Zealand’s 14 stores, online and commercial operations are closed from today for a minimum period of four weeks,” the Australian-listed technology retailer told shareholders.
“The group is working to support New Zealand team members and customers through this difficult time. The health and wellbeing of our team members, customers, business partners and the wider community remains the group’s highest priority.
“The JB Hi-Fi New Zealand business does not make a material financial contribution to the group, with FY19 sales of NZD $236 million, representing approximately three per cent of the group’s total annual sales, and an FY19 EBIT [earnings before interest and tax] loss of $1.9 million," the company added.
The temporary closure of the company’s New Zealand stores comes after technology industry umbrella group NZTech moved to raise awareness in government ranks that there was no need to call a halt to ongoing IT projects during the Covid-19 lockdown.
In a blog post, NZTech CEO Graeme Muller said that government has the ability to support the country’s fastest growing sector without any handouts.
"Most New Zealand tech firms can continue to resource these projects from home so our lockdown doesn’t have to mean stopping IT projects," Muller wrote.