Tumut Target will transform into a Kmart early next year.
It is one of 53 Target stores nationwide that will be converting to Kmart, while up to 75 close altogether.
Target says there will be 10 to 25 large format Target stores and 50 Target Country stores, including Wagga, Cooma, Leeton and Cootamundra, which will close over the next twelve months. All remaining Target stores will continue trading as Target.
Yass and Bega are among the other Target stores that will transform into Kmarts.
Tumut Regional Chamber of Commerce members were worried when the news broke that so many Target stores would close, but Chamber president Natalie Randall says they are greatly relieved that the Tumut store will remain, albeit in a different capacity.
“We were concerned when we heard the news about the closures and feared Tumut would close, but we are glad that isn’t the case,” she said.
“A lot of people use it and it fills an area in the marketplace for the town so to retain it is a positive, especially as our town has been so bushfire-affected.”
Ms Randall feels for the communities such as Wagga that will lose their Target stores altogether.
“We know that other towns haven’t been as lucky,” she said.
“It is not good for any town to loses a business like that, that fills such a big space in the marketplace.”
It appears that current Tumut Target employees will be able to keep their jobs, or at the very least be given other employment opportunities.
“All team members in Target stores scheduled for conversion to Kmart will be offered the opportunity to join the growing Kmart team; for other affected Target team members, we will work with them to identify and offer other redeployment opportunities in Kmart, Catch, Bunnings and Officeworks as these businesses continue to grow,” Target announced over the weekend.
“We believe that Target has a future as a leading retailer in Australia and we know it is loved by so many, but a number of actions are required to ensure it is fit for purpose in a competitive, challenging and dynamic market, including a smaller number of stores and a stronger online business.”
The closures and conversions may not be the end of the changes.
“The network will continue to be reviewed on an ongoing basis to support our transition to a smaller, more focused and more optimised business,” A Target spokesperson said.
“We’ll be increasing our digital capabilities, so that we can continue to meet growing demand in this space.”
Target says Covid-19 has hastened these moves, but is not the cause of them.
“These changes have been made following the first phase of a strategic review of the business,” the spokesperson said.
“For some time, the Target business has needed to transform to a smaller, more focused and less complex business. Whilst the coronavirus has accelerated this need, changes to the store network and operating model have been a focus for some time.”