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Avon representatives, from left, Shirley Keeley, Jan Lord, Cheryl Moore, Gaye Fleet, Donalda Watson, Debbie Oliver, Jill Tutty are among those who will be affected when Avon closes shop later this year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Housebound people will be among those hardest hit by the closure of Avon, South Canterbury representatives say.

Temuka woman Shirley Keeley, who has been an Avon representative for 31 years, was “stunned” to hear news of the company’s planned closure across New Zealand and Australia.

The 130-year-old company, a delivery service which specialises in beauty products and household items, is available in more than 100 countries.

News of its closure in New Zealand was made via a statement to its representatives and customers, citing a need to focus on markets that have the greatest potential for future growth.

“When I heard the news I was absolutely stunned,” Mrs Keeley said.

“I really feel for the housebound customers. They don’t have the luxury of getting out and about and doing their shopping.”

Mrs Keeley, who is one of at least 400 representatives in the area from Rakaia to Gore and including the West Coast, said Avon was a “one-stop shop” many customers relied on for their toiletries, household items and gifts.

“It’s quite devastating for them.

“Also, it’s the social contact. They won’t have the Avon lady coming to them any more.”

She also felt for the representatives who would lose their regular income.

Debbie Oliver is one of them.

“I had over 200 clients so it was a good wee thing for me to do when the kids were at school.”

She said it was the clients she felt sorry for, particularly those who could not get out of their homes easily.

“The Avon lady delivered it to you, so those people at home are going to find it really hard.”

Grey Power Timaru president Denise Fitzgerald said while services such as Avon’s were not likely to be the only or main form of contact for people unable to get out of their homes, socialisation was a big issue among older people.

She believed the closure would affect those who enjoyed the regular contact.