Online sales not enough to save Oxfam

Oxfam Australia will start the process of shutting down its retail, wholesale and e-commerce operations in June due to commercial pressures and the difficult retail environment in Australia.

The decision affects nearly 100 staff, made up of approximately 40 permanent and 60 casual positions.

“We know this will be very difficult news for our staff and volunteers – and our customers,” Tony McKimmie, Oxfam Australia chief operating officer, said in a statement.

“We sincerely thank them all for their dedication and significant contribution to our core mission of tackling poverty.”

The closure will see eight physical stores around Australia shuttered, as well as Oxfam’s online store and wholesale division, which supplies coffee, tea and chocolate products to supermarkets.

“[The business] shifted last year to placing a stronger emphasis on its online trading business and reduced emphasis on its shops, with an assessment of each store’s financial viability as shop leases became due for renewal,” McKimmie explained.

“This resulted in the closure of five stores, [however] declining revenue and profitability – including flat online sales growth – meant the financially responsible decision was to close all of Oxfam Australia Trading operations.”

Goods sold through these stores are sourced from a global community of ethical artisans and farmers, which helps “communities to learn and living and lift themselves out of poverty”.

“Oxfam Australia will continue its work empowering communities to tackle poverty through long-term development programs, emergency response and advocacy,” McKimmie said.

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