A third of Retail NZ members report negative impact from coronavirus

Some New Zealand businesses that source their products from mainland China have been affected by the spread of the coronavirus and are experiencing delays and cancellation of their orders, Retail NZ reported. 

Greg Harford, Retail NZ chief executive, said that while the majority of Retail NZ members have said the coronavirus has had little immediate impact on their businesses, some NZ businesses that source their products from mainland China have been affected.

“A number of businesses have had orders delayed by factory shutdowns in China, [and] at least one trade fair, where retailers order products, has been cancelled,” Harford said. 

Harford said over a third of Retail NZ members have reported that their business has suffered negatively as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, with most not reporting an impact.

He added that a very small number of firms have reported positive news, mainly associated with increased demand for safety products such as face masks and hand sanitiser.

Harford said businesses that also sell products that were exposed to the international visitor market have reported experiencing negative impact with around a 14 per cent reduction in both foot traffic and sales in-store. Some have been substantially impacted, reporting a drop in sales of up to 30 per cent.


No material change to online sales patterns has been reported.

According to Harford, most retailers have said they have not yet had to make significant moves to adjust their businesses to take account of the virus, but small numbers have reduced staff hours to take account of reduced demand and reduced forward orders.   

“Some businesses have noted that employees who have recently returned from China are not able to work because they are in self-quarantine, and businesses report that there is understandable concern among some employees about the potential spread of the virus in New Zealand,” he said.

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