More than 150 Target stores are either to close altogether or be converted to Kmart stores in a major restructuring by owners Wesfarmers.
However, the future of Ballarat's Doveton Street store remains unclear, as Wesfarmers has not released specific details.
The company told the stock market on Friday morning that it would shift its focus from the struggling Target brand to Kmart. It is also to increase its online efforts in a move from bricks and mortar stores in town centres.
It's not clear if all Target stores are to be closed or converted to Kmart. On its latest figures, there were 289 stores in Australia, more than those named in the statement for closure. They had a total of 13,000 employees.
The iconic brand in virtually every town centre began as a drapery store in 1926 in Geelong, Victoria.
In a statement, the company listed the measures to "address the unsustainable financial performance of Target".
"These actions include the conversion of suitable Target and Target Country stores to Kmart stores, the closure of between 10 to 25 large format Target stores, the closure of the remaining 50 small format Target Country stores, and a significant restructuring of the Target store support office."
It spelt out the changes:
- "The conversion of between 10 to 40 large format stores to Kmart, subject to landlord support.
- The conversion of approximately 52 Target Country stores to small format Kmart stores.
- The closure of between 10 to 25 large format Target stores and the closure of the remaining 50 Target Country stores which are not suitable for conversion to Kmart.
- A significant reduction in the size of the Target store support office."
Wesfarmers Managing Director Rob 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 reduction in the Target store network will be complemented by increased investment in our digital capabilities, following the continued strong growth in online sales across the Kmart Group."
The closures of the familiar brand stores will take place over the next twelve months.
The company said that Target employees in stores being converted to Kmart would be offered employment under the new brand. Other employees "will be given consideration for new roles".
"All team members in Target stores scheduled for conversion to Kmart will receive an offer of employment from Kmart. Target team members affected by store closures will be given consideration for new roles created in Kmart and Catch as those businesses continue to grow."
Some country towns have Target Country stores as the only remaining department-style store. It's not clear how many - if any - will convert to Kmart.
Meanwhile, there is more positive news for another of Ballarat's anchor stores.
Myer is set to open it's door on May 27 with a series of new measures in place including hand sanitisers, sneeze guards for staff and social distancing measures in place.
Among the stores to reopen will be Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Werribee and all Melbourne stores.
While the majority of the store will open, some personalised services including beauty appointments, apparel fittings, suits fittings and show fittings will remain closed in the short term.
However change rooms will open with distancing and hygiene measures in place.
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