Target stores set to close within weeks


Three Australian Target stores will be permanently shut within months as the discount department store struggles to reverse its fortunes.

A Target spokeswoman confirmed the store in Pasadena in South Australia will close on May 30, with affected team members informed of the closure in late January.

It will be followed by the closure of the Target branch in Campbelltown in Sydney's southwest on July 4, with staff of that store informed in early March.

The Meadow Springs shop in Mandurah, West Australia will also close on August 1, with employees told in mid-January.

But the spokeswoman stressed these were not new announcements, and that the closures were unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic or the strategic review announced for Target just last week.

Staff from affected Target stores were informed of the closures earlier this year.
Staff from affected Target stores were informed of the closures earlier this year.

Last Monday, parent company Wesfarmers released an update to the market on how retail trade was faring in its various businesses, with Target taking a clear hit.

Managing director Rob Scott said that in recent weeks, "in-store sales momentum has moderated in Kmart and has declined significantly in Target, reflecting the broader decline in customer footfall in shopping centres and ongoing weakness in discretionary categories, particularly apparel".

In the six months to December, it recorded a sales fall - again - and Wesfarmers lamented the mid-range department store chain was performing "below expectations".

At the moment there are 285 Target stores in Australia, with four stores closing between July and December 2019.

Meanwhile, retail experts have long reported on the brand's struggles, with Queensland University of Technology retail expert Dr Gary Mortimer previously telling Target posed an ongoing problem for Wesfarmers.

"Target remains an issue for the Wesfarmers group, despite significant changes to product ranges and investment in price," he said.

"There remains a healthy level of cannibalisation between Kmart and Target, which questions the strategy behind running two differently-branded discount department store businesses essentially serving the same market."