广东时时彩快乐十分钟:Tasmanian retailer Coogans to close its doors after more than 100 years
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Prominent Tasmanian retailer Coogans is set to close its doors at the end of June, marking the end of a chain that has been a Tasmanian institution for more than a century.
- Thirty-five Coogans workers are to be offered redundancies, with the last store closing at the end of June
- Coogans is remembered for the furniture it used to make and sell in its nearly 150 years of operating
- Tasmanians are urged to buy local or face losing more local retailers
The family business told its workers on Tuesday it planned to close its Moonah operations on June 30, after having shut its Hobart store in January.
Founder William Coogan opened his first furniture factory on Brisbane Street in Launceston in 1884, and was one of the first Australian businesses to offer payment plans for customers.
It is the latest iconic name in a string of local Tasmanian brands who have shut up shop amid the rise of online shopping.
The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association said it had been working with member employees since possible closures were flagged in late 2018.
The company's John McClea confirmed 35 staff would be offered redundancies, but a credit arm would continue.
General secretary Paul Griffin said it was unclear exactly what employees would get.
"The business was looking at certain transformations as to where they might be into the future, but we didn't expect it to be quite as close as what we found out today," he said.
"It's unfortunate they are closing, but they have made their decision, and we have to do the best we can for what we can do for our members in the meantime."
A salute from another Tasmanian institution
Long-time business owner Edward Harry has been the head of the menswear store Les Lees for 40 years.
He said it was unfortunate such an icon would no longer be in the market.
"It's a big surprise, Coogans has been an institution in this town for a long time," he said.
"It's just iconic … and [it has] produced some magnificent furniture over the years, and has been a stalwart.
"It's very sad to hear of this, but I guess the industry is extremely competitive, particularly furniture and electrical."
'Consumers have got to look local'
Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said the closure was disappointing given Tasmania's strong economic growth in recent years, but not surprising given the change in the sector.
"If you look at Tasmanian retail figures, of the last four or five years they've held up really well, and even in the last couple of months they've been still very strong," he said.
"There is a difficult economic environment in Australia at the moment in many ways, so when I think about it in an overall context it's not surprising.
"In the last four or five years we've seen a decline in family-operated businesses.
"In some cases we've seen people get to the point where they say, 'look, this is just too difficult'."
He blamed the decline of family businesses on falling profit margins, due to rising costs and growing consumer demand for cheap goods.
"I think one of the big problems in retail is that price is becoming a very predominant force," he said.
"Consumers have got to look local, not global, and remember that it's fine to shop overseas and save money, but if they continue to … we're going to lose retailers in Australia.
"That means jobs, that means less people being employed."