The closure of Dean Street stalwart Thomas Jewellers will lead to job losses and could shake business confidence, believes one Albury retail expert.
On Monday the store’s parent company, Thomas Group, said they would be closing all stores nationally in “coming months”.
The company refused to clarify how many staff were employed at the Albury store and would be made redundant.
Australian Industry Group regional manager Tim Farrah said the loss of any jobs was devastating for individuals and the sector.
“With an employer open six days a week and open late on Thursday, that’s a big roster and it’s a big store,” he said.
“People will be feeling pain and have to find other work.”
Mr Farrah said the retail industry had been strong the past three to four years, especially south of the border.
He said the closure of a Dean Street icon could shake business confidence.
“They’ve been a very good business, open a long time and it’s not like they didn’t know the market and hadn’t been successful, they weren’t a start up – they were well established,” he said.
“They knew the margins, knew how to run, certainly in retail margins are tight.
“They weren’t making the sort of margins they were making in the early 2000’s or 1990’s.”
Mr Farrah remembers visiting the Albury store about 25 years ago to search for an engagement ring.
The Dean Street property and all other regional stores will be sold, but the company’s store in Royal Arcade in Melbourne will be leased.
Just this month, the company launched a new Warrnambool store and is currently holding a “finest wedding in the country” competition, to give one couple the opportunity to win a wedding worth $50,000, which they will still honour.