Target stores to be closed or rebranded as Kmart, Wesfarmers announces

Many of the stores will be rebranded as Kmart which has been the more profitable business

Camera Icon Many of the stores will be rebranded as Kmart which has been the more profitable business. Credit PAUL MILLER AAPIMAGE

Following a review into its Target stores, Westfarmers made a decision to convert between 10 and 40 suitable Target and Target Country stores into Kmarts, subject to support from landlords.

"Unfortunately, the disruptive and competitive nature of the retail sector requires us to make some hard decisions to ensure we have a viable Target business into the future, while continuing the strong growth of Kmart and Catch", Bailey said.

The Target retail brand is set to nearly vanish in Australia, with parent company Wesfarmers announcing that up to 167 Target stores would either be re-branded to Kmart or closed down entirely.

Wesfarmers will shut up to 25 stores of its struggling Target chain and close Target Country stores, as it shifts its focus to the better-performing Kmart.

These changes will result in a significant reduction in the size of the Target store support office.

"For some time now, the retail sector has seen significant structural change and disruption, and we expect this trend to continue", Mr Scott said. An additional 52 Target Country stores, which are largely in regional areas, will also be converted to small-format Kmart stores.

The closures and rebranding are expected to occur over the next twelve months, with the majority taking place in 2021.

The retail giant said it will move to "identify redeployment opportunities for affected team members, including in Bunnings and Officeworks", to cut back on potential redundancies.

Amid the store closures, Wesfarmers will invest in the company's digital platforms as continues to see strong growth in online sales across Kmart Group.

Wesfarmers will be undertaking the following actions to manage the cost base of the Target retail network, which it said has been deemed "unsustainable". "Unfortunately, the disruptive and competitive nature of the retail sector requires us to make some hard decisions to ensure we have a viable Target business into the future, while continuing the strong growth of Kmart and Catch".

Kmart Group managing director, Ian Bailey, said the decision was not easy.

The store closures and mergers take in more than half of Target's 284 outlets across Australia.

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