March 24th, the New Zealand Government enforced a 4 week National Lockdown at level 4. This means all Schools, Universities, shops, services, and public transport must close and for everyone to remain in their homes till the end of April. Travel is restricted, and all social gatherings of any kind, other than the people we live with, are banned. Essential services (Supermarkets, drugstores, and Freight Companies) remain in operation but in a restricted capacity. This is going to have a major impact on our operation for the foreseeable future.
We have had to close our warehouse and will not be sending any orders to stores till the lockdown is lifted. As of today, all the stores in New Zealand we supply have closed. All new releases scheduled for April will now ship in May.
The Tourism industry in New Zealand – which is a significant portion of our GDP has effectively been shut down and will stay that way for quite some time. NZ will see a significant increase in unemployment. I imagine everything that is going on will take a toll on retailers’ cashflow, which will have consequences well beyond the lockdown.
We have survived 3 recessions, an earthquake swarm that lasted several years, the mass shootings last March with the subsequent 3 weeks in a police cordon (we are next door to the Christchurch Mosque). We’re getting pretty resilient. But it will still be a challenge, especially taking into account the hammering our currency has taken over the last few weeks, but we’re in a strong position to get through this difficult period, which is unprecedented.
May 16th – After 7 weeks, stores have finally opened, with COVID19 seeming held at bay. Social distancing is still required along with customers signing in and out of stores for contact tracing, but at least stores can begin trading again. Sales have been strong as stores have been restocking after solid sales the day before lock-down, (it turns out that boardgames are the ideal product for quarantine). But how all this will impact business over the next year is unclear at this stage.