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Another 17,800 Australian retail and travel workers lost their jobs this morning

One of Australia’s biggest retail chains has today announced it is temporarily shutting up shop, throwing more than 9000 people out of a job.

Premier Investments, which owns stores including Dotti, Peter Alexander, Smiggle, Just Jeans and Portmans, will close all of its 522 stores for four weeks.

The retail behemoth is vowing not to pay any rent to landlords during the shutdown, which may trigger a possible battle with shopping centre owners.

It comes after the Accent Group, which owns Athlete’s Foot, Platypus and Hype, also revealed it will close its 420 store for a month from Friday, temporarily laying off 5000 workers.

This morning, Flight Centre also announced the temporary standing down of 3800 staff as the ban on travel leaves the flight industry reeling.

The new layoffs come on top of the thousands already left jobless after the closure of stores including Michael Hill, Noni B, Katies and Millers.

Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the retail industry is “in absolute disarray”.

“We’ve got supermarkets that are absolutely pumping customers through, people are looking for food to eat, obviously looking for pharmaceutical products, and in some cases they’re looking for things that may be required at home if you’re going to have to nest at home,” he told 3AW’s Dee Dee.

“Things like iPads and electrical products like that, and also fridges and freezers are selling quite well.”

Mr Zimmerman said many retail workers don’t want to go to work as the COVID-19 outbreak escalates.

“These retailers are telling me that they’re actually having trouble finding staff to come in.

“They’re scared to be out there.”

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