THE future of Dubbo's Target store remains 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 to the media, 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.
Wesfarmers is also looking to significantly cut the size of the Target store support office.
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 Daily Liberal contacted Wesfarmers seeking confirmation of whether Kmart may replace Dubbo's Target store.
Wesfarmers were unable to provide any further information at this time, saying they were supporting their teams.
"During this difficult time, we are committed to supporting our team. Across the Kmart Group we have made a significant effort to avoid store closures and retain our people and for impacted store team members we have the benefit of time to help find alternative employment opportunities," a Target spokesperson said.
"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."
A spokesperson for the company has said in the past, the move could not be ruled out.
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.
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