Clothing retailer Jigsaw closes its Australian division due to coronavirus downturn

Lovers of fashion retailer Jigsaw copped a disappointing email today, detailing the brands closure of its Australian stores, effective immediately. “After many wonderful years, Jigsaw London will be closing its doors on Friday 29th May. Due to exceptional circumstances the business has made the difficult decision to close its Australian division to simplify its business and focus on its home market in the UK,” the brand said in a statement on their Australian website.
Founded in 1970, the retailer is one of many to have suffered under the weight of COVID-19 restrictions.
Pre-pandemic, the group reportedly turned over $188 million for the 2017/2018 period.
As of August 2019, the brand had 80 stores across the UK.
Jigsaw’s sister company Kew 159 closed in 2012 following heavy financial losses.
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The decision was made due to the coronavirus pandemic’s devastating impact on the retail sector, the brand confirmed in an FAQ page.
“The coronavirus outbreak has had a severe impact on retailers around the world,” the company wrote.
“While the pandemic continues, we will simplify our business by focusing on our home market in the UK.”
Aussies won’t be able to shop online from the retailer either, with the website already shut down.
Items bought online or in-store can still be returned until July 1st.
The brand was hesitant to confirm whether they would revive their Australian division in future.
“For now our focus is to simplify our business by focusing on our home market in the UK. However, we are always looking for opportunities, so if one arises for us to reopen here – we will certainly take it!”
Jigsaw is the latest casualty as a string of retail store have buckled under the pandemic’s pressure.
Hints at looming David Jones closures have come less than a week after it was revealed that 53 Target stores across the country would close forever within 12 months, while a further 53 will be converted to Kmarts over the same period.
Just yesterday, fashion heavyweight PAS Group announced they’d entered voluntary administration, leaving some of Australia’s best-known labels facing an uncertain future.
The popular retailer is behind 225 shops across Australia and New Zealand, owns major brands including Review, Black Pepper, Yarra Trail, Designworks and JETS Swimwear and also supplies stock to Myer and other stores.
This year’s retail bloodbath follows a horror 2019 that brought the collapse of a slew of Aussie businesses, with some international players also folding in recent months.
In January last year, menswear retailer Ed Harry went into voluntary administration, and a week later, Aussie sportswear favourite Skins also revealed it was on the brink of failure after applying for bankruptcy in a Swiss court.
At the end of that month, the Napoleon Perdis beauty empire announced the cult make-up chain’s 56 Aussie stores had closed for stocktake. Administrators were appointed, and scores of stores have since collapsed.
Footwear trailblazer Shoes of Prey also met its demise in March last year along with British fashion giant Karen Millen, which in September revealed it would soon shut all Aussie stores, leaving around 80 jobs in peril.
In October, celebrity chef Shannon Bennett’s Melbourne burger chain Benny Burger was also placed into administration, followed by seven Red Rooster outlets in Queensland just days later and then Aussie activewear sensation Stylerunner, which has since been sold to Accent Group Limited.
In November, it was revealed that popular furniture and homewares company Zanui was in trouble after it abruptly entered voluntary administration, leaving angry customers in the lurch.
Later that month, Muscle Coach, a leading fitness company, was put into voluntary administration after a director received a devastating diagnosis and the company racked up debts of almost $1 million.
Then it was the famous Criniti’s restaurant chain’s turn to enter into voluntary administration, with several of the 13 sites across the country set to close for good. It was closely followed by discount legend Dimmeys.
Australian department store Harris Scarfe was also placed into voluntary administration in mid-December.