Covid-19 has started biting the retail fields of the University of Brisbane, which is dependent on foreign students. A popular Asian supermarket is closing two stores after the number of foreign students studying at local universities dropped dramatically.
Universal Asian Supermarket, which operated outlets in Kelvin Grove and South Bank, saw declining sales as many foreign students were forced to leave the country as the epidemic lockdown. The supermarket was especially popular with Chinese students who would stock their favorite home with pineapple cakes, tofu, and noodles.
On Tuesday, customers at the South Bank store were seen loading their baskets with groceries as part of a fire sale the day before the scheduled closure.
One staff member, who was packing from the shelves into bottled boxes, told City Beat confidentially that the lack of Asian students studying in Brisbane had affected the business.
The Kelvin Grove store, located in the middle of the QUT precinct, closed earlier this month after disputes with landlords and customer complaints led them to forfeit money due to the customer loyalty system. Songbo Young, director of Universal Asian Supermarket, declined to comment.
A sign in front of the South Bank store in both English and Chinese said it was closed due to COVID-19 and said customers would get a 25 percent discount if they spent more than $100 on products on the shelves.
The latest figures show that the number of international students arrivals in Australia were down a huge 99.6 percent in January at the same time last year.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), only 360 international students arrived in January compared a reduction of 91,250 with January last year.
According to overseas arrivals and departure figures, only 40 students arrived in Queensland, down 15,980.
NSW’s highest share of international student arrivals was 140, down 32,070 from the same period last year. In Victoria, the number of students dropped by 70 to 29,380.
The university says about 174 permanent positions became redundant due to cost-cutting restructuring caused by the COVID-1P epidemic.
The international education system brought in $37.5 billion to the Australian economy in 2012-2016, with China standing at a staggering $ 10.5 billion.