BENDIGO-BORN retailer Myer will close all its stores on Sunday for about a month, in a measure intended to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.
About 10,000 staff will be stood down, from Monday.
Staff members who are not working will not be paid during the "period of imposed closure".
The business will continue trading online.
April 27 has been set as the end of the temporary closure. However, Myer said the four-week hiatus was an "initial period".
Chief executive John King said the decision was one of the toughest the company had faced in its 120 years.
"Our focus must remain on operating our business in a manner that protects the health and wellbeing of customers and team members, whilst supporting the government, and the communities in which we operate, in limiting the spread of COVID-19," Mr King said.
"We will focus on ensuring we offer the best possible online experience for our customers, whilst being ready to restart the business in four weeks."
He, the company's board and all Myer executive team members would work without pay during the four-week closure.
Myer said the "small group of business-critical roles" retained would operate at about 80 per cent of their normal salaries and contracted hours.
Staff would be offered free counselling and support. Myer would also look at other ways to support their health and wellbeing.
"We know this will be a difficult period," the company said.
Stores would trade on Sunday for the last time for four weeks.
Myer said the health and wellbeing of customers, team members, their families and broader communities was its priority.
It was supportive of measures governments and their respective agencies were taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Myer said it would continue to monitor developments and provide updates as appropriate.
Efforts to strengthen its balance sheet and reduce debt had put the company in a stronger position to deal with the effects of the pandemic, Myer told the ASX.
"We are now taking all necessary measures to minimise our cost base, including engaging in ongoing discussions with suppliers and landlords," it said.
Mr King thanked Myer's loyal customers and team members for their understanding during this unprecedented time.
The company reduced its threshold for free delivery to $49 per order and relaxed its returns policy to make shopping online more convenient for customers.
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