The Gympie Times - - FRONT PAGE - STAFF WRITER

THE Tar­get store at Gold­fields Plaza will be con­verted into a Kmart hub, a Tar­get spokesman con­firmed late yes­ter­day.

Up to 75 Tar­get stores across Aus­tralia will close for­ever and a fur­ther 92, Gympie in­cluded, will be con­verted into Kmarts.

Par­ent com­pany Wes­farm­ers made the shock an­nounce­ment yes­ter­day.

Many Tar­get fans are in mourn­ing Wes­farm­ers an­nounced up to 167 stores would dis­ap­pear over the next year.

Up to 75 Tar­gets will close and 92 will be­come Kmarts – also owned by Wes­farm­ers.

The dis­count store chain has been strug­gling.

“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,” chief ex­ec­u­tive Rob Scott said.

A Tar­get spokes­woman said the de­ci­sion had been a dif­fi­cult one.

“The de­ci­sion to trans­form the Tar­get store net­work, and par­tic­u­larly the very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to close stores, is not one that is made lightly, but one that is nec­es­sary to im­prove the com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity of the busi­ness and to sup­port the thou­sands of peo­ple we em­ploy,” she said.

“Our num­ber one pri­or­ity is talk­ing to and sup­port­ing our teams. The ma­jor­ity of these changes will oc­cur next year, and we are com­mit­ted to look­ing for re­de­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for af­fected team mem­bers in Kmart, Catch and other Wes­farm­ers busi­nesses, in­clud­ing guar­an­tee­ing job of­fers to all Tar­get team mem­bers in con­verted stores.

“Our team, cus­tomers and com­mu­ni­ties have al­ways been at the heart of ev­ery­thing we do – and that doesn’t change today.”

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