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Australia Why Australia's Target stores had to close

00:55  23 may  2020
00:55  23 may  2020 Source:   msn.com

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REVEALED: The 167 Target stores that will be closing down for GOOD or turned into Kmarts as Across Australia , 92 Target stores are being converted into Kmarts On Friday evening the company revealed which stores would close and convert Target has revealed which stores will permanently close and which will be turned into Kmarts

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Target is just the latest casualty of Australia's ailing retail sector, with the owner of the iconic department store, Wesfarmers, announcing the closure or rebranding of more than 160 sites.

Pitted against each other in an increasingly competitive market, Kmart has emerged triumphant over its sister business, outperforming it in sales and basking in the success of a popular social media and online marketing campaign.

Ninety-two of the 167 Target sites earmarked for change will be converted to Kmart stores.

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Target fans have spoken out after the announcement that many stores will be closed or replaced Fans have taken to Twitter with mixed feelings about the closures , while many are upset that they Why would they do this. Target have better quality products, with more range. I love Kmart but this is

Updated: Target has expanded its shopping hour for vulnerable guests to twice a week. All Target stores will close no later than 9 p.m. local Walmart reduced hours of its 24-hour stores on Sunday as have many grocery stores . Target stores that regularly close earlier than 9 p.m. will continue to

Industry analysts and retail experts explaining the warning signs for Target had started years ago.

Target's customers are fast disappearing

a person standing in front of a store: Target couldn't compete with Kmart's lower prices and increasing popularity. (ABC News: Hugh Sando) © ABC News: Hugh Sando Target couldn't compete with Kmart's lower prices and increasing popularity. (ABC News: Hugh Sando) National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb said Target's decision to pursue a different strategy with a higher price point than Kmart, and move away from successful collaborations with designers such as Stella McCartney, was a move that cost them considerable market share.

"At the same time, Kmart started interacting with customers via blogs and offering Kmart hacks — Target lost some of their appeal," she said.

"I think Target's online store has been more predominant than Kmart's, but I'd say the individuals shopping probably just had a preference in the end for the Kmart brand and the price point was right — Kmart was a little cheaper.

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Target stores are set to shut their doors as a tough retail environment continues to bite. Sales in Target ’ s womenswear, menswear and homewares ranges continue to grow, but has been The drop in Target sales prompted Wesfarmers CEO Rob Scott to flag that store closures were on the horizon.

In Australia many rural towns have a " Target Country" which is like a really small version of Target Hungry Jacks successfully claimed that they had the exclusive rights to operate the Burger King Why is everyone saying Aust, I had to read it in 3 seperate comments before I realised they meant Aus.

"Kmart did a really great job of engaging with their demographic, they used the people who were shopping with them as their best promoters, then they started to replicate quite high-end products like the teddy jacket.

"Women aged 20 to 35 really started to engage with the products they could buy including fashion, homewares, and that reading of their demographic did really well."

With increasingly negative consumer confidence and stalled wages growth in Australia, IBIS World senior industry analyst Daisy Feller agreed Kmart's lower prices were far more appealing for the majority of shoppers.

"Target has been underperforming Kmart over the past five years. Kmart has benefited in its position as a discount retailer in times of negative consumer sentiment," she said.

"Target positioned itself as a middle-market retailer.

"A lot of the negative consumer confidence has just come over the past two years and wages are not growing as fast as we have wanted.

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Need help with shopping online from Target Australia ? The government has banned the supply of all lightweight plastic bags and this applies to all retailers. The ban is designed to help protect the environment and wildlife by reducing the litter of and damage caused by single-use plastic bags.

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"But at the same time, the number of high-income earners in Australia has grown, so there's a big split in those seeking really high-value goods and those only able to afford discount items."

The brand also 'got a bit vanilla'

Its similarity to Kmart has also been behind Wesfarmers' decision to keep rationalising Target stores while promoting Kmart.

Retail strategist Brian Walker said every great retail brand has "a story, it has a point of difference and it has a competitive reason to be there".

"But new competitors in the shape of H&M and Uniqlo all took chunks out of Target and it didn't have an anchor that made it unique," he said.

"Added to that, it had a high rising cost base and lost the ability to pay its way.

"When you look at Target in the United States, it has a great success story, Kmart in Australia also has a great success story in the rise of chic and cheap. Kmart has a story — it's getting pretty cool to have something from Kmart.

"The overarching piece is that customers vote with their wallets, though. It's very challenging, with such increased specialty retailers popping up everywhere.

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"I think Target just got vanilla, it just got pedestrian. They were sitting in prime real estate locations too and not always the best spots in shopping centres."

But all is not lost for Target

With Wesfarmers' acquisition of Catch Group, which operates an online business model offering branded products on a first-party basis and a third-party online marketplace, Mr Walker said there may be a chance for Target to continue in a virtual retail space.

"I think what we're seeing is the first in a series of waves for Target," he said.

"If I was being audacious, I would think what was interesting about Wesfamers was that they bought Catch Group. Target has a great brand name where I think it potentially could go into more of a marketplace operation.

"I've got great empathy for the longstanding employees though I think a lot will redeploy into Kmart. The decision will have an impact straight away on landlords, it'll have an impact on suppliers. But we have clever landlords in this country, many would have seen Target heading this way, and they've been rethinking shopping centres in so many ways.

"I don't think we'll see the end of the brand over time. They're still a reasonably sized company."

There could be more retail horror to come

The demise of Target could have disastrous impacts on centres which relied on the department store to generate foot traffic.

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Ms Lamb said Target was a much-loved brand and some regional areas may face difficulty replacing anchor tenants.

"I think other retailers are going to feel this when they've relied on Target for customer traffic," she said.

"What we need to remember is retailers have had it tough even before COVID-19 and now unemployment is increasing, discretionary spend is decreasing and there's a cautiousness around consumers who are only spending on certain types of things.

"We've had a bit of upheaval, elections, change in governments, and that has left people nervous as to what the state of our economy is.

"Many of these businesses are making very strategic decisions about making brands commercially viable.

"Target has had success online but that middle market has been crowded for some time and consumers only have so many dollars to spend."

Add to that the fact Australia is third in the world for retail density and the outlook is grim, according to Mr Walker.

"There was always going to be an adjustment," he said.

"Overall retail spend has dropped by $335 billion, online shopping is growing at 10 per cent and will probably get to 15 per cent but the pie wasn't growing, so that has got to come out of physical stores."

 

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