Target To Close, Rebrand At Least 122 Stores In Australia

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Target To Close, Rebrand At Least 122 Stores In Australia

The Target retail brand is set to almost 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.

An update to the Australian Securities Exchange this morning confirmed that Wesfarmers sees a dim future ahead for Target, with Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott singling out Target as the weakest brand in its portfolio. “With the exception of Target, Wesfarmers’ retail businesses are well-positioned to respond to the changes in consumer behaviour and competition associated with this disruption,” Scott said in the ASX release.

Following a strategic review into the Target brand in Australia, Wesfarmers will be:

  • Shutting down between 10 to 25 large format Target stores;
  • Closing the remaining 50 Target Country stores that cannot be converted to the Kmart brand;
  • Converting 52 other Target Country stores to small format Kmart stores;
  • Converting between 10 to 40 large format stores to Kmart, pending landlord approval;
  • Significantly reducing the Target store support office

From a gaming perspective, Target offered occasional deals on games and gaming hardware throughout the year, particularly around holiday periods. They were not as consistently competitive as JB Hi-Fi, Amazon, EB Games or Big W, but when they competed, their deals were usually worth checking out. The company sold Nintendo Switches for $369 during the most recent Black Friday, which at the time was the best current price for the Switch (until it was matched by competitors).

K-Mart, by comparison, has traditionally not offered a great deal of stock, or discounts, in the gaming or gaming accessories space. The Wesfarmers release noted that “Kmart Group will continue its investment in its digital channels”.

The closure will have a significant impact on workers, but Kmart Group managing director Ian Bailey said a “cross-divisional working group” was being established so those furloughed could pick up roles at Wesfarmers’ other retail outlets, including Bunnings and Officeworks.

At least 122 Target stores in Australia will be affected by the announcement, with the potential for up to 167 stores to be impacted pending negotiations with landlords.

“The expansion of our digital offer will provide customers with access to the Kmart and Target products they love, together with over two million products from the Catch marketplace, via home delivery or click and collect,” Scott said.

Comments

  • Let’s be honest, as soon as Wesfarmers needed a sacrifice they’d be right in their sightlines with a name and logo like that

    • Wesfarmer’s stable of retail brands includes Bunnings Warehouse, Coles Supermarkets, Bi-Lo, Pick ‘n Pay Hypermarket, Coles Express, Coles Central, Liquorland, Vintage Cellars, 1st Choice Liquor Superstore, Officeworks, Harris Technology, Kmart, Kmart Tyre & Auto Service and Target.

      I previously held some of their stocks but sold them off. They own a lot of retail chains in Australia.

      • Something like 70 cents of every dollar spent in Australia is at either Wesfarmers or Woolworths Group (which includes Woolworths, Flemings, BWS, Cellarmasters, Dan Murphy’s, Woolworths Liquor, Woolworths Metro, Langton’s, ALH Hotels, Big W and Adore Beauty – they also used to include stores like Dick Smith, Tandy and Masters before they were closed or sold) which is pretty crazy when you think about it.

        • 70 cents of every dollar? if thats true then why are coles still so shit? im sure theres 1 out of every 100 stores that has been modernised but every coles i visit feels like im stepping back into the 90s.

    • They bought Coles a number of years ago (They already owned Bunnings) and recently spun Coles’ grocery business off into a separate company

  • Yay… turning a store that sells decent clothing and housewares into something that sells cheap chintzy yummy-mummy instagram crap.

    Although i am ashamed to admit i am of the larger persuasion, Target has a good range of big mens clothes now i am forced to go to speciality stores and pay 5x the amount.

    • It doesn’t seem to be complete yet though: none of the ones around where I live are in the “to be closed” or “to be converted” lists.

  • It sucks because Kmart stopped selling video games at the end of last generation and now at the end of this one we lose Target.

    That leaves four traditional retail chains selling games (JB, EB, Big W and Harvey Norman) and yet things like game pass notwithstanding boxed product is still way more price competitive here than the digital alternative which is stuck at 2006 prices.

    • ive kind of just accepted the fact that the only way to buy games these days is 2+ years after release and with discount from a digital store. works well enough unless youre into fad multiplayer games, but at that point the ongoing microtransactions are a bigger concern than a couple of bucks difference in retail price.

  • Odd, my local store is neither closing nor being converted. I guess some stores are still remaining open for now.

  • “set to almost vanish” is just hyperbole.

    Target Country was never a big box Target, it was just a rebrand of the small format Fosseys apparel stores that target took over and would have disapointed anyone familiar with the big box version.

    Only “10 to 25” of the large format Target stores are closing, out of large format 191 Target stores, plus some that are due to be be converted to Kmarts, although by my count that only applies to around 10-12 of big box stores.

    So…at worst, 25+12 targets going out of 191, which is less than 20%, all in low-volume locations.

    In short, the vast majority of big box Target stores that most people will be familiar with aren’t going anywhere.

    • Target Nowra is closing. That services an area of ~50,000 people or more, and isnt a Target Country store as far as I know. Could be wrong, its been a while since I was in there. On the surface, that looks like a bad decision, leaving a relatively large area unsupported.

      As it is, theres a Kmart a few minutes walk away, so theres sense to closing that isnt listed on their site. Still, the few things that Target does that differentiates itself from Kmart will no longer be there for the area. Unless Kmart is changing as well to incorporate those few things. Cant think of many off the top of my head though – Targets own range of products is about it.

      So out of those 10-25 large format Target stores closing, you’re going to have similar situations where theres a corresponding Kmart store in close proximity. Not arguing with you btw, just pointing out that there could be more reasons to be closing even the bigger stores. No point Wesfarmers competing with themselves, and needlessly paying the running costs of a second store.

      I was half expecting to see the Wollongong store on the list myself (it isnt on either list) as theres a Kmart a couple of suburbs over, maybe 3kms away. The Kmart is outside the CBD so not as convenient, but its still close enough they could have justified closing the Target on those grounds.

      The Wollongong Target’s gaming range is pretty weak to be honest so from a gamer perspective it wouldnt be missed. Its within 50m of both a JB and an EB, and doesnt try to compete with either. Its just there to say they have a range.

      • the target store in nowra most definately is a target country. i remember when we were first told that we would be getting a target store and everyone was all for it, then when it arrived it wasnt a proper store but a country store and people were pissed

        • Cheers thyco. Now you mention it, I vaguely recall the outrage 🙂 Doesnt really change the main point that there are going to be a few situations where a Target and Kmart are on each others doorsteps. Which would be a fair justification to close one or the other.

          I thought Nowra was one of those situations. I was wrong.

        • i remember when we were first told that we would be getting a target store and everyone was all for it, then when it arrived it wasnt a proper store but a country store and people were pissed i remember when we were first told we were going to get a big w store. it was the summer of 69 i believe.

          • still wating for that Big W to come to Vinnie Shopping Center, though i must say it is kinda funny seeing the a south nowra bunnings in the old Master building while they re build their original store
            also a damn shame that we lost our Good Guys as well

      • Target’s general approach to date has been that where there is a Target and no Kmart in the shopping centre Target has been closed and reopened as a Kmart. They have been going through this process for some time. This almost certainly accounts for all the proposed rebrandings.

        The closures will be where the stores just aren’t making any money for various reasons. I suspect that half the time this is simply where Targets have been established in mid-sized shopping centres that have been out-competed by larger and more successful shopping centres nearby.

        But, in any case, if a store isn’t making money it makes no economic sense to keep running the business as a charity and I am sure that there are a range of causes here. Partially, however, I suspect that the economics of smaller regional shopping strips have changed particularly dramatically with the rise of internet shopping.

  • I stopped bothering with Target when they started reducing the video games and movies departments to next to nothing. Kmart did the same and yet if it wasn’t for their cookware/homeware sections I wouldn’t bother there either.

  • yeah it is weird which Targets are closing down,
    within 200km or so of where I live
    4 Target’s are closing down
    1 Target is converting to Kmart
    and yet the one closest to me will stay open

  • I went to my nearest Target store a couple of weeks ago to pick up something they were holding for my brother because no stores near him had stock.

    I haven’t checked to see if that store is closing, but it wouldn’t surprise me. You could have fired a cannon through there and not hit anybody. Tumbleweeds. I assume it was probably quieter than usual due to COVID-19, but unless normal traffic is more than 10x busier than what I saw, it would not be viable for them to keep a store that large operating.

  • I haven’t been to a Target store for….. oh…. I can’t remember. Definitely not within the last 10 years. Probably not within 15 years. I’m surprised they still exist.

  • Yes Wesfarmers own catch online Target Kmart and Bunnings but after Target struggled it’s profits against sister company it’s sad to hear that dozens of Target stores will be closed down or converted into Kmart.
    I mean the Warrnambool Target store located in the Warrnambool CBD is the only one that has not been listed among other stores closing or converting to Kmart but it’s Colac store has been listed and even though we don’t shop at Target a lot we only shop there to see what DVD movie titles interest us.
    Even though the Target stores are closing down or converting into Kmart I guess we won’t be seeing those Target ads on TV anymore and I’m sure thousands of other people are left devastated that Target will be saying goodbye next year as part of a restructure plan by Wesfarmers.

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