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.