Everything you need to know about Target

Target stores may not be part of the Australian shopping mall for much longer, with 160 of their stores either being closed or rebranded into Kmarts within the next year. The changes, which are due to an “unsustainable cost base,” will start happening from July, with most happening in 2021.

Wesfarmers, who own the chain, maintain they won’t close Target stores completely. “We continue to believe that Target has a future as a leading retail brand in Australia,” said group managing director Ian Bailey. “But a number of actions and changes are required to ensure it is fit for purpose... including a smaller number of stores and a stronger online business.”

Target Australia storefront
160 Target stores are either being closed or rebranded into Kmarts within the next year. Photo: Getty Images.

Here we look at the store’s history, its best moments, and why it hasn’t survived:

Who owns Target?

Target is owned by Wesfarmers, after the conglomerate took over the Coles Group in 2007. It was founded in 1926 by George Lindsay and Alex McKenzie, who opened a shop in Geelong selling bedding and dress fabrics. As they slowly opened more stores through Victoria, their USP or ‘unique selling proposition’ always remained the same: they sold quality goods at half the normal profit rate.

In 1968, Myer bought the shops and rebranded them as Lindsay’s Target. Within three years it had outlets across Australia, and in 1973, it became known simply as Target.

Why is Target closing so many stores?

Because they aren’t making enough money. Target’s sales have fallen steadily since 2012, and in 2016 they made a loss of $195million, compared to Kmart’s profit of $470million. Their decline has been steady since then.

Although COVID-19 has been blamed for many retailers going under, Target had problems long before coronavirus hit our shores. Experts believe that poor market positioning, confusing product strategies and a brand that simply wasn’t as strong as Kmart, led to customers deserting the store.

Which Target stores will become Kmarts?

Most of the stores due to close are in regional towns and will change in 2021. In Victoria, stores to become Kmarts include Ararat and Castlemaine; in Queensland Beerwah and Bowen will both change their names; in NSW Bowral and Gunnedah will lose their Target branding; in South Australia, Berri and Murray Bridge will change, and in Western Australia, Geraldton and Northam will become Kmarts. Here’s the full list of stores that will change their name.

Kmart's homewares are a hit with shoppers. Photo: Instagram/lookwhat_i_found.
Kmart's homewares are a hit with shoppers. Photo: Instagram/lookwhat_i_found.

Why are Targets changing to Kmarts?

They are becoming Kmarts because both stores are both owned by Wesfarmers. At the half-year reports in December 2019, Kmart showed a 7.6 per cent increase in sales with $241million profit, while Target posted a sales decline of $67million. Ironically, when Wesfarmers first took over the Coles Group in 2007, it floated the idea of converting Kmarts into Target stores. Instead, they decided to invest in Kmart. The investment paid off, and Kmart is now the market leader.

Which Target stores will close down?

Fifty-three stores will close, mostly in early-mid 2021. These include stores in Armidale, Campbelltown, Cootamundra and Margaret River. See the full list of closures and rebranded stores here.

Can I shop at Target as normal?

Yes. Some of the closures and rebrands will happen in July, but most won’t take place until 2021. Until then, stores are open as usual.

Can I order Target products online?

Yes, and you’ll continue to be able to after many of the store closures. “There is no change to Target’s online operation,” says Managing Director of Target Australia, Marina Joanou.

You’ll also be able to continue to click and collect orders from remaining Target stores, and eventually Kmart stores too.

Dannii Minogue launched her 'petites' clothing line with Target in 2014. Photo: Instagram/targetaus.
Dannii Minogue launched her 'petites' clothing line with Target in 2014. Photo: Instagram/targetaus.

What are Target’s opening hours?

Most stores open at 8 am or 9 am and close at 6 am every day of the week, but all stores differ slightly. Check here for the full list of stores and individual hours.

Are there sales at Target?

Yes, they often have a “latest offers” section, which includes homewares, toys and entertainment items. Due to many stores closing or being rebranded, they are also having a clearance sale. Catalogues with all the offers are available in-store or online.

What are the best birthday party themes available at Target?

Target has a small range of party items available, including metallic and sunshine themes. Many of the items are available to buy in-store only.

Target's metallic party themed products. Photo: Target.
Target's metallic party themed products. Photo: Target.

Can I layby products at Target?

Yes, but not at all stores. Laybys are available on purchases of $40 or over, and a 10 per cent deposit, plus a $3 service fee is required. Regular fortnightly payments must be made. Cancellations cost $3. Several stores don’t do laybys, so check here first. It’s not possible to layby items online.

Can Target print photos from an iPhone?

Yes, you can print photos from an iPhone or Android at kiosks at Target stores. You can also order your prints through the Target Photo app, and pick up photos from a store within an hour.

Does Target have a rewards card?

Yes, you can use a Flybuys card to collect points. Flybuys can also be collected at Kmart, Coles and Liquorland.

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