Target will replace Kmart’s Warrawong outlet by the end of the year. Julia Clarke, Westfield’s Corporate Affairs Manager, announced the change in a statement today.
“It’s a normal part of business that retailers change from time to time, and we believe Target will be an ideal addition to Warrawong’s retail mix, and to the city of Wollongong.”
Employees at the discount store were told at the beginning of the month that the store would close. They were informed that they would need to re-apply to retain their jobs at the new store.
A spokesperson for Kmart said efforts were being made to prevent job losses among the 133 people currently employed at the Warrawong store. “The main thing is ensuring our team has a smooth transition and is looked after,” said the spokesperson.
“We don’t have a closure date yet, we believe it may be some time in June.” Steve Dostinoski, an employee at the store, is unhappy with the news he will need to re-apply “We have known [Kmart] would close since last year, but a couple of weeks ago we were told. We should get our job automatically, Target is the same company.”
Kmart, owned by the company Wesfarmers in addition to Target, is closing their Warrawong branch after failing to secure a new lease with Westfield. Their current lease expires this September.
The planned changes have been submitted to Wollongong City Council but do not yet have approval.
Words: Dean Johnson
Pictures: Ashley Mumford
Audio: Ben Neutze