National

Silence is deafening

Silence is deafening

While the supermarkets struggle to keep up with “three Christmases” worth of shoppers, it’s a different story for other retailers.

Deserted and eerily quiet, WA’s biggest shopping centres have become ghost towns.

Store and services owners trying to stay open during these unprecedented times are having to contend with hours without customers or clients as people adhere to the Federal Government’s social-distancing measures and calls to stay home as much as possible.

SUPERMARKET’S ‘THREE CHRISTMASES’

KMART SLASHES SHOPPING HOURS

From Perth’s mega-centre of Carousel to Whitfords, Garden City and the CBD retail precinct, the extended consumer slump was obvious yesterday, with only solitary shoppers wandering around.

Carousel would normally be a crush of shoppers. This week, our photographer pretty much got the place to himself.

Westfield Carousel.

While Whitfords would normally be a-wash with busy families. This was what it was like this week.

Meanwhile, in Garden City...

Westfield Booragoon, Garden City.

And when was the last time you saw the city this empty?

Last weekend, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged Australians just to go shopping for essential items.

“Do it and get home,” he said.

“It is not a time for browsing. It is not a time for catching up with friends or bumping into people and having a long conversation.”

In contrast, Coles chief operations officer Matthew Swindells compared the scale of shopper hoarding to a typical festive season, but without the usual planning.

“It’s really not a problem of supply, it’s a problem of demand and ordinarily we would take six months to plan one Christmas event,” he said.

“We have done three Christmases in three consecutive weeks from a standing start... It punches a huge hole in our supply lines and it takes a long time to recover.”