BATHURST Business Chamber is seeking more information about the impacts of a plan to convert the local Target outlet to a Kmart by the end of October.
The chamber was formally notified of the plan yesterday, following months of speculation about the future of the Bathurst store.
But chamber president Catherine Fitzsimons said the announcement raised more questions than answers in terms of possible job losses and whether the new Kmart outlet would retain the same footprint as the existing Target store.
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"From the chamber's point of view, we don't have a large amount of information yet in terms of jobs, retail footprint and impact on the landlord," she said.
"There's concern that there may be a loss of jobs in our area and maybe a knock-on effect if there is a reduced footprint.
"Kmart has said it will look after regional customers with more online platforms but we're strongly encouraging customers to support local businesses that employ local people so that doesn't really appeal to the sense of community here in the Central West."
Bathurst's Target was not on Wesfarmers' original list of stores earmarked for conversion to Kmart, but speculation over the store's future would not go away.
And the issue was finally put to rest on Thursday morning with a Kmart Group spokesperson confirming Kmart would be returning to Bathurst from October 29.
"As announced recently, Target will transform its store network seeing a smaller number of stores and a focus on a stronger online business," the spokesperson said.
"Across the Kmart Group we want to build profitable and sustainable businesses and one of the ways we can achieve this is through optimisation of our store network. We have made a significant effort to avoid store closures and retain our team by converting suitable Target stores to Kmart stores.
"We can confirm that our Target Bathurst store will become a Kmart on 29 October 2020. All team members in Target stores scheduled for conversion to Kmart, including Bathurst, will be offered the opportunity to join the growing Kmart team."
The Target Group of stores has been struggling in recent years as Kmart has gone from strength to strength.
Across the group, Target Group sales declined by 1.5 per cent during the 2018-19 financial year and Wesfarmers closed 15 stores across Australia during this 12-month period.
Kmart will replace Target in the Armada Shopping Centre.
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