For Peppa Pig fans, you’re about to get some sad news: ABC Shop will close down its retail stores in Australia soon.
The shop that carries brands like Doctor Who, Peppa Pig, triple j, The Wiggles, and Giggle and Hoot, among others, will be concentrating on its online initiatives over the next few months.
In their press release, ABC said that because of the proliferation of digital downloads, it will no longer be profitable for their ABC Store properties to sustain a “large number of leased stores.”
50 stores and 78 small outlets will close
This will result to 50 store and 78 small ABC outlet closures. It will also mean 300 jobs will be cut in the nationwide halting of physical store operations.
Mark Scott, the Store’s managing director, said the in its 35 years of operation, ABC’s main thrust, selling DVDs and CDs, has changed dramatically over the years.
Director of ABC Commercial Robert Patterson said, “The ABC Shops have been an important part of the ABC’s relationship with its audiences for the past 35 years and this decision has not been taken lightly. However, this strategy will create a more cost effective, nimble and flexible approach to servicing customers.”
According to a news report from Sydney Morning Herald, “ABC was not prepared to take money out of its broadcasting operation to fund an unprofitable retail venture.”
Mark Scott was still on ABC’s defense with his tweet that they took a longer time to shut down than other networks to their retail stores. In one of his tweets, he said:
ABC was able to sustain its physical shop network longer than nearly all other public broadcasters: BBC shut its shops about 10 years ago
— Mark Scott (@mscott) July 22, 2015
Employees were not informed
However, there are claims that some employees were not informed. One friend of an ABC Shop employee said that her friend was even recently hired in Perth last week.
The company added in their press release, “The welfare of our staff will be a primary focus over the next few months. We are conscious that the ABC Shop is close to the hearts of our teams and we appreciate their ongoing hard work and dedication.” This was according to Regina Hoekstra, Head of ABC Retail.
Tony Abbott could have played a role
There were speculations, however, that this closure was not a mere business strategy. Last month, convicted criminal, Zaky Mallah, was allowed on ABC’s Q&A’s live audience. Sydney Morning Herald reports that “Prime Minister Tony Abbott banned frontbench ministers from appearing as guests on the program after criticising its decision to feature Mr Mallah. Mr Abbott wrote to ABC chairman James Spigelman earlier this month, saying he would lift the ban if Q&A was moved to the ABC’s news division.”
Scott was also quick to dismiss the speculations.
“The ABC Act is very clear, the responsibility for the operations, the management, these programming decisions at the ABC, they lie with the management team and the final responsibility for all of that rests with the ABC board,” Scott said.