Cyclone Debbie

Image: flooding seen in Lismore, NSW via Rotorwing Helicopter Services.

Several Betta Home Living stores have sustained damage from Cyclone Debbie as a number of stores that were in the area of the cyclone directly, specifically Rockhampton, Townsville, Ayr, Yeppoon and Airlie Beach.

CEO Graeme Cunningham told Retailbiz‘s sister publication Appliance Retailer Airlie Beach was the main store affected in North Queensland with major damage to store and stock. Cunningham said in the flooding aftermath a few stores were threatened in the Northern Rivers region with Lismore being the major casualty with the store unlikely to re-open soon.

“There has been major damage to the Lismore business but thankfully everyone is safe. We have experienced cyclones before in some of these areas over the years but this one has been more widespread. The flooding in Lismore is the worst since 1974 and many people are experiencing it for the first time. We are doing all we can to support the stores and the people in the affected areas.”

Harvey Norman stores in Brisbane were unaffected apart from a significant number of closures on Thursday after police issued warnings about the approaching bad weather. The Cannonvale store was out of action for six days and the Mackay store was out of action for four days following power outages and significant debris.

Localised flooding and debris also caused the Oxley store to close for five days. “As the system moved down the coast Ballina was closed on the Saturday and the Lismore store was closed for six days with furniture and bedding opening when water receded,” chief operating officer, John Slack-Smith told Appliance Retailer.

One lucky retailer was Precise PCs Leading Appliances store at Murwillumbah with the water just one step away from the entrance. It was a different story for the store owner, whose home was cut off because of flooded roads and she was unable to get into town.

Although the Leading Edge Rockhampton store owner feared the worst, the high tide from the Fitzroy River did not spill into the street.

Winning Appliances was also fortunate. Both its Queensland showrooms closed early on the Thursday in order to get staff home safely and reopened the next day when the weather was clear again. A spokesperson said there was no damage and the stores returned to normal trading quickly.

None of The Good Guys stores were severely affected by the floods, a store spokesperson said. Some stores were closed for a short time when the flooding was forecast but were able to trade the next day. The Good Guys is working with various charities on the ground, including its cause partner, Orange Sky Laundry, to provide support to affected communities. The group has also donated washers and dryers to other local charities to help establish laundry services and help get the community back on track as soon as possible.

The National Retail Association is offering advice to those grappling with the impact of the cyclone to contact the leasing department for advice on issues relating to insurance as well as tips on how best to ensure the business is properly compensated.  It is also providing information on whether the business may be eligible for State Government disaster assistance.

This story originally appeared on Appliance Retailer.


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