Advanced Search

Michael Hill to Repay Workers up to $17M

Jul 11, 2019 7:49 AM   By Rapaport News
Comment Comment Email Email Print Print Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Share Share

RAPAPORT... Michael Hill will hand out between AUD 10 million ($7 million) and AUD 25 million (just under $17.5 million) to compensate retail employees in Australia, after discovering it had been underpaying them.

The jeweler had been wrongly applying the pay rates mandated by the Australian government’s General Retail Industry Award document, it admitted in a statement Wednesday, following a review.

Daniel Bracken, the retailer’s CEO since November 2018, instigated the review, which he conducted together with PricewaterhouseCoopers. It found that the failure to comply had spanned the past six years, based on a sample of team members. Bracken will contact all employees to apologize and explain the process for establishing which of them had lost out, he explained.

“When we identified there was an issue, I mobilized a team, supported by independent external experts, to determine the scale of the problem, identify the individuals affected, and to ensure full compliance with the award going forward,” Bracken said. “We will move as quickly as possible to rectify any underpayments with those team members affected.” The company has started a more detailed review of all its employment records and practices.

The discovery caps off a challenging year for the Australia-based jeweler, with global sales falling 4.5% to AUD 563.4 million ($393.5 million) in the financial year that ended June 30, it reported Wednesday. Same-store sales slipped 3.5%. The slowdown eased in the fourth fiscal quarter, with revenues declining 1% to AUD 132.6 million ($92.6 million) in the three months to June. The company’s stock price dropped 9% Thursday.

“Even though we are experiencing an extremely competitive retail environment, particularly in Australia, with intensive competitor clearance-related activities and lower foot traffic, the company has continued to deliver improved sales momentum for the fourth quarter,” Bracken noted.

The one-off compensation cost will not significantly affect the company’s underlying earnings in this or future years, it added.

As of June 30, Michael Hill operated 168 stores in Australia, 52 in New Zealand and 86 in Canada.

Image: Daniel Bracken. (Michael Hill)
Tags: Australia, General Retail Industry Award, Michael Hill, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Rapaport News, retail
Similar Articles
Birks 140Birks Sales, Profit Back on Track
Nov 23, 2021
Sales at Canada-based jewelry retailer Birks Group soared and the company returned to profitability in the first
NRF October 140US Retail Sales Jump as Holidays Start Early
Nov 17, 2021
US retail sales rose in October as consumers began holiday shopping earlier to avoid shortages amid supply-chain disruptions,
Comments: (0)  Add comment Add Comment
Arrange Comments Last to First
© Copyright 1978-2021 by Rapaport USA Inc. All rights reserved. Index®, RapNet®, Rapaport®, PriceGrid™, Diamonds.Net™, and JNS®; are registered TradeMarks.
While the information presented is from sources we believe reliable, we do not guarantee the accuracy or validity of any information presented by Rapaport or the views expressed by users of our internet service.