Hectic scenes as Kmart doors open at midnight in Melbourne

Marni Dixit
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read

After 15 gruelling weeks of lockdown, Victorian residents have celebrated the opening of retailers, cafes and bars and salons as though it was New Year's Eve.

And Kmart fans were some of the most excited, with hundreds lining up to enter select stores when they opened at midnight on Wednesday.

Melbourne Kmart fans flooded the 24/7 stores that opened on Tuesday night. Photo: Getty/TikTok
Melbourne Kmart fans flooded the 24/7 stores that opened on Tuesday night. Photo: Getty/TikTok

"I’ve been lining up) since 6pm. I’m so excited, I just don’t even know what to say," one eager customer told 7News.

Kmart launched a booking system on Tuesday to ensure limits were maintained on the number of customers allowed in the stores to maintain social distancing.

Time slots are divided into 20-minute intervals and while it's not essential to book, if you don't you may risk waiting a long time until a slot does become available.

You can also book a spot in line for the registers while at home or while at the store.

Kmart said on its website, "We will open our doors on Wednesday 28th October, but for your safety, we will limit the number of customers allowed in a store at one time for stores located in Metro Melbourne."

"Our Social Q app is here to save you time and get you into store as quickly as possible during busy periods – either use the app before you leave home to save your spot in store, or if there’s a line when you get to store, use the app to save your spot without lining up."

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Other Covid safe plans include the introduction of a Covid marshal patrolling stores and extended trading hours so that customers can shop at quieter times.

Social media users shared their excitement, with many very keen to get their hands on some Kmart items.

One user said, "KMART and 'get on the beers' are trending. This is how Melbourne heals itself... not saying it's a *perfect* response, but it is deeply-felt."

Melbourne Kmart fans were very excited about being able to actually visit the store after 15 weeks of lockdown. Photo: Twitter
Melbourne Kmart fans were very excited about being able to actually visit the store after 15 weeks of lockdown. Photo: Twitter
One user joked that they hoped Kmart fans would "find the random home decor" of their dreams. Photo: Twitter
One user joked that they hoped Kmart fans would "find the random home decor" of their dreams. Photo: Twitter

Another joked, "To everyone in Melbourne who is rejoicing about finally being able to go to Kmart - I hope you find the random home decor of your dreams."

Someone else said, "The fact that Kmart is trending right now... Melbourne is feeling lively again!"

One user joked, "Praying for every Kmart employee in Melbourne on the eve of Step 3."

While many were excited about finally being able to go into Kmart, others hoped it wouldn't lead to an outbreak.

"I can't believe people are camping outside of Kmart in Melbourne like guys really?!? I'm excited too but we just hit zero two days in a row don't f**k it up," one user said.

Some users urged Melbourne residents not to gather in big crowds at Kmart. Photo: Twitter
Some users urged Melbourne residents not to gather in big crowds at Kmart. Photo: Twitter
Another said, "This could so easily go pear shaped again," while urging people not gather in large crowds straight away. Photo: Twitter
Another said, "This could so easily go pear shaped again," while urging people not gather in large crowds straight away. Photo: Twitter

Another said, "Wow just saw a video from 12am last night when Kmart opened and there are so many people there. I get everyone is excited but we need to do things slowly. Big crowds like this everywhere can’t be good. Come on Melbourne, no one wants to go into lockdown again."

Someone else added, "Kind of worried at what I'm seeing on the socials..folks lining up at bars, Kmart etc.

"Don't be d**kheads Melbourne! This could so easily go pear shaped again."

John Gualtieri, Kmart Australia and New Zealand Retail Director revealed that they had people lining up hours before some stores were set to open while their teams were busily getting the store Covid safe and ready for the grand entrance.

“The excitement and energy ahead of opening has been electric and we wish to thank our customers for their patience during this time and our team working tirelessly to keep up with demand. We understand it is a unique moment for many, and we are committed to delivering a safe and seamless shopping experience to all the community,” Mr Gualtieri said.

Mr Gualtieri added, “I can’t thank our team enough for their continued hard work in welcoming our customers back into our stores. It’s been a long few months for everyone, especially with Christmas on the horizon, being a step ahead in creating an environment that’s truly safe for every person walking through our doors is important on our road to recovery. As always, we remain committed to the health and wellbeing of our team members and customers and we thank our customers as we work through the busiest trading period of the year.”

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