The Reject Shop: Kmart and Aldi’s homewares rival

Katherine Chatfield
·Columnist
·6-min read

While many retailers have struggled during the pandemic, The Reject Shop has gone from strength to strength. The bargain store has just seen its shares rise by 13.9 per cent, which is believed to be fuelled by shoppers looking for cheap goods during a tough financial period.

Currently worth $300million, broker Morgan Stanley has predicted The Reject Shop’s worth could rise to $3billion over the next ten years. If the new CEO has anything to do with it, that’s what they’ll be aiming for. Andre Reich, who took over as head of the chain at the beginning of 2020 has reportedly simplified the store’s strategy, aiming to reduce sourcing, staff and rent costs across all their stores.

The store's cheap and chic homewares - such as these wooden utensils and woven coasters - have been a hit with influencers. Photo: Instagram/@myhomeofboho_luxe.
The store's cheap and chic homewares - such as these wooden utensils and woven coasters - have been a hit with influencers. Photo: Instagram/@myhomeofboho_luxe.

Their new cheap homewares range has also piqued interest, with many customers taking to social media to share images of how to style their products in upmarket environments. Watch out Kmart, The Reject Shop is hot on your heels...

When did The Reject Shop first open?

Businessmen Ron Hall and John Shuster founded The Reject Shop in 1981, as a way of selling discontinued lines and seconds. The first store was in Victoria’s South Yarra, but as the shops expanded, they branched out and started to stock cheap, household items and groceries, as well as discontinued lines.

(AUSTRALIA OUT) The Reject Shop, 22 June 2004. AFR Picture by GABRIELE CHAROTTE (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
The Reject Shop has gone from strength to strength during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Getty Images.

In 1994, it became majority-owned by Macquarie Bank. When it went public in 2004, the company tripled in size, but just a few years later hit tough times. In 2010 it announced a big profit loss, exacerbated by its main distribution centre being flooded in the Queensland floods. In 2014, profits dropped again by 50 per cent, giving the company one of the worst-performing shares of the year.

However, this didn’t deter management, and they tried an aggressive approach, opening more stores in the place of closing Retail Adventures shops. Today the store is on the up. In January 2020 new CEO Andre Reich took over and has boosted share price by nearly 14 per cent. They currently have 354 stores and employ 5,300 people, with their head office in Kensington, Victoria.

What does The Reject Shop sell?

Pretty much everything. Expect to see pantry and cleaning items, arts and crafts supplies, toiletries and cosmetics, storage capsules, lollies, kitchenware and seasonal stock. Many of the brands are unknown but they also stock international brands including L’Oréal, Nivea, Pepsi, Finish, Omo and Cadbury.

(AUSTRALIA OUT) The Reject Shop in Liverpool is a part of a company that consists of over 100 stores state wide, 1 June 2004. SMH Picture by BRENDAN ESPOSITO (Photo by Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)
The Reject Shop is known for their bargain-basement prices. Photo: Getty Images.

Is The Reject Shop cheap?

Yes. They have regular sales and reduced items. They often advertise up to 90 per cent off products, selling beauty items for 50c, toiletries for $1 and arts and crafts items for $2.

Can I bulk buy items at The Reject Shop?

Probably. Depending on what you want to buy, and how much they have in stock, individual stores will let you bulk buy. You’ll need to ask at your local store for details.

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Does The Reject Shop have a loyalty card?

No. You can sign up to become a Savvy Shopper, so you get advance warning of items that are going to be reduced, competitions and any other upcoming deals.

Can you get cashback at The Reject Shop?

Yes. All stores offer cashback at their tills if you pay for your items with EFTPOS.

What’s in The Reject Shop’s homewares range?

Their homewares range includes pantry canisters and labels, modular food containers, clocks, cushions and vases and floor lamps. Influencers have been raving about the new range on their social media accounts, with many saying the prices are more affordable than Kmart.

A customer showed how they put The Reject Shop's storage range to good use in their pantry. Photo: Instagram/@sandjfirsthome.
A customer showed how they put The Reject Shop's storage range to good use in their pantry. Photo: Instagram/@sandjfirsthome.

Can you shop online at The Reject Shop?

No. You can create an online shopping list — although not all items instore are shown online — but you have to go in to store to buy items. The store says they have no plans to open online, instead saying they are concentrating on opening more physical shops.

Do I need a receipt to return items at The Reject Shop?

Yes. They offer a full money-back guarantee if the product is faulty, but you need to show your receipt and take it back to the store you bought it from. If you can’t provide a receipt, you may be able to get a refund or exchange if the product is sold exclusively at The Reject Shop. The store also offers a change of mind policy if you return an item within 28 days and you can provide proof of purchase. Items must be unused and in their original packaging. However, you can’t change your mind on the following items:

  • Bedding

  • Cosmetics including fragrances

  • Gift cards

  • Hosiery

  • Personal care such as foot spas, electric toothbrushes, hair straighteners

  • Swimwear and underwear

Can I layby items at The Reject Shop?

No, but they do offer Afterpay, which means you can pay a quarter of the cost of an item and take it home, then pay the rest in instalments. It’s available on all purchases over $40.

A four-legged fan sporting a coat from The Reject Shop. Photo: Instagram/@mila.and.koda.
A four-legged fan sporting a coat from The Reject Shop. Photo: Instagram/@mila.and.koda.

Does The Reject Shop sell gift vouchers?

Yes. They’re available in any amount from $10 and you can only buy them instore.

Is The Reject Shop’s sausage roll maker worth buying?

It’s flown under the radar until now, but at $29 it’s been getting rave reviews – and was available before Kmart launched theirs. It’s not in stock at the moment though.

What time is the Reject Shop open?

Individual stores have different opening times, but most open their doors at either 8.30am or 9am and close at 5.30pm or 6pm. Find out what hours your local store is open here.

Can I follow The Reject Shop on social media?

Yes. They’re on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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