THE future of the region's Target stores remain unclear after parent company Wesfarmers this morning announced a restructure plan that would see many Target outlets converted to Kmarts and others closed for good.
In a statement released on Friday, Wesfarmers managing director Rob Scott the company would be looking to accelerate the growth of its Kmart Group while also addressing the "unsustainable financial performance" of Target.
Changes would include the conversion of between 10 and 40 large format Target stores to Kmarts, subject to landlord support; the conversion of about 52 Target Country stores to small format Kmart stores; the closure of between 10 and 25 large format Target stores; and the closure of the remaining 50 Target Country stores which are not suitable for conversion to Kmart.
Mr Scott said the changes would boost the opposition of its Kmart Group and improve the financial viability of Target.
"For some time now, the retail sector has seen significant structural change and disruption, and we expect this trend to continue," Mr Scott said.
"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.
"The actions announced reflect our continued focus on investing in Kmart, a business with a compelling customer offer and strong competitive advantages, while also improving the viability of Target by addressing some of its structural challenges by simplifying the business model."
Target runs a national network of more than 200 stores, including outlets in Bathurst, Dubbo, Mudgee, Lithgow, Parkes, Forbes and Cowra.
Those stores survived the last round of closures announced last year but staff again face an uncertain future.
The Bathurst outlet was a welcome addition to the Bathurst Stockland (now Armada) shopping centre around a decade ago when it replaced a Kmart as one of the centre's key tenants.
The Western Advocate has contacted Wesfarmers seeking confirmation of whether Kmart might now be returning but is still awaiting a replay.
But a spokesperson for the company told the Australia Community Media last year that such a move could not be ruled out.
"We are always looking for new locations to bring people our everyday low prices, and that includes Bathurst," the spokesperson said.
"At this time we have no announcements, however, if this changes we will advise the community with a formal announcement."
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