The Warehouse insists it acted in good faith on the basis of legal advice when it announced earlier in the week it would stay open during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Earlier, the retail company claimed it was an essential service because some of its stores sell food and cleaning materials, as well as goods such as blankets and heaters.

Its shares surged more than 30 percent after the news, but were then put in a trading halt when officials told the company that it must shut its shops.

Warehouse chief executive Nick Grayston said it based its original decision on credible information, but accepted and supported the closure.

In order to save cash, the company has cancelled its interim dividend payout due next month, and has also scrapped its earnings forecasts.

This article was originally published on RNZ and re-published with permission.

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