|Headquarters||Mulgrave, Melbourne, VIC,
Number of locations
200+ Kmart Stores (2016)
|Australia & New Zealand|
Number of employees
Kmart Australia Limited is an Australian chain of discount department stores (low-price stores), owned by Wesfarmers. It operates 214 stores in Australia and 14 in New Zealand, with its head office located in Mulgrave, Melbourne.
Kmart Australia Limited was born out of a joint venture between G.J Coles & Coy Limited (Coles) and S.S. Kresge Company in the United States, with Kresge owning 51% of the common stock in the company. They began to develop Kmart stores in Australia in 1968.
The first store opened in Burwood East, Victoria, in April 1969 with over 40,000 people passing through the checkouts on the first day. The doors had been closed 45 minutes after opening as a safety measure.
A long-term licensing agreement allows Wesfarmers to use the Kmart name in Australia and New Zealand.
In 2006, Coles Group announced plans for Kmart, along with BI-LO and the Coles Group liquor brands, to be merged into the Coles brand. The first re-branded store was planned to open in 2007, with 40 stores, mostly former 'Super K' stores divided last decade into separate Coles and Kmart stores, reformed into Coles Superstores. By March 2007 the plans for these super centres were deferred pending the sale of all or part of Coles Group, and in August 2007, incoming owners Wesfarmers said super centres would almost certainly not proceed.
Kmart's performance immediately prior to the Wesfarmers takeover was poor. In May 2007, it reported a sales drop of 3.2% for the third quarter, and an overall drop in sales of 3.9% for the first three quarters.
In August 2007 Wesfarmers said it would consider selling all or part of Kmart, or converting some stores to the Target brand. Wesfarmers took control of Coles Group in November 2007 and by March 2008 had decided to retain Kmart and invest $300m in the chain over the next five years.
After continuing poor performance in 2009, the 2010 financial year saw a large increase in EBIT, reporting revenue of A$4.02 billion (equivalent to A$4.02 billion in 2017) and an EBIT of A$190 million (equivalent to A$190 million in 2017), an increase in EBIT of over 74%.
As of August 2015, Kmart has 203 stores trading across Australia - 52 in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, 47 in Victoria, 41 in Queensland, 23 in Western Australia, 15 in South Australia, 5 in Tasmania and 2 in the Northern Territory. There are 18 stores located in New Zealand.
Current store concepts
- Kmart is a chain of discount department stores that include merchandise such as home entertainment goods, photographic equipment and developing, camping and fishing goods, sporting goods, toys, kitchenware, small appliances, storage & home organisation, confectionery, stationery, books, cards & party goods, furniture, garden supplies, automotive equipment, lighting, hardware, luggage, cosmetics, clothing and footwear. Most Kmarts have photo centres, which also allow Hewlett-Packard's Snapfish customers to collect online orders. The photo centres have operated in conjunction with Hewlett-Packard since 2009, after Kmart ended a 30-year partnership with Kodak Australia. In early 2014, Kmart began a company-wide switch from their Hewlett-Packard powered Minilab system back to a Kodak powered Minilab system, with the latest stores to make the switch being Toowong, Mount Ommaney, and Indooroopilly in November and December 2014.
- Kmart Tyre and Auto Service (Head Office: Castle Hill, Sydney, NSW), is a chain of auto centres that specialises in automotive accessories, car servicing, tyres, check-ups and motor vehicle insurance. Historically, these stores are usually (but not always) attached to a Kmart store. In early 2006 a number of vehicle servicing facilities at Shell service stations became Kmart Tyre and Auto Service outlets. As of August 2015 there were 246 Kmart Tyre & Auto Service outlets throughout Australia.
In 2013 Kmart began a roll-out of new store layouts. Garden plant sections were removed, and back of store areas were cut back. There was an expansion of floorspace to stock and an increase in the height of displays. The stores were given a more "Department Store" feel with front of shop checkouts replaced with an area for non-self serve customers to pay at in the centre of the store.
Former store concepts
- Kmart Garden Super Centres specialised in garden, plants and garden furniture. Most of these stores were standalone, "big box" stores in a warehouse format that sold Kmart manufactured or branded outdoor living items. From 1999 to 2007 there were 6 such centres, 4 in Victoria (Chadstone, Fountain Gate, Campbellfield and Watergardens), plus Windsor (Queensland) and Casula (NSW). Kmart closed all the centres in 2007 with the sole exception of the Campbellfield store, (the only store integrated with an existing Kmart store) which was downsized instead, claiming the concept didn't fit its future business strategy. As of September 2011, this store was also shut down.
- Super Kmart was a hypermarket chain existing between 1982 and 1989. The stores sold all the same lines as regular Kmart stores, plus those sold by Coles Supermarkets. The concept was abandoned by Coles Myer Ltd in 1989 with the existing stores split into two separate stores, a standard Kmart store and a Coles New World supermarket.
- Holly's Restaurant During the 1980s and 1990s, every Kmart store had a Holly's in-store restaurant. Starting from the late 1980s, they were progressively shut down across the country, with the last Holly's at Kmart Horsham closing down on June 25, 2010.
- Girl Xpress was planned as clothing store chain for young urban women. A concept store was trialled at Burwood East, Victoria from 2006, however was later discontinued. Girl Xpress has been retained however, as a Kmart house brand.
- Clearance Centre Kmart briefly trialled a clearance centre concept at Ringwood from November 2006 until June 2007.
- Kmart Food A former supermarket chain operated by Kmart. At least four stores existed and opened alongside the first Kmart stores at Burwood East, VIC Blacktown and Waratah, NSW and Morley, WA in 1969-1970.
Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal
Since 1988, Kmart and The Salvation Army have collected over five million gifts from customers, which are then distributed to those in need. The concept for the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal first came about when Eve Mitchell, a team member from the Kmart store in Noarlunga suggested Kmart use its network of stores as gift collection points, assisting charity groups at Christmas. Over 464,000 gifts were donated to the 2010 appeal.
In February 2010 Kmart requested permission from the NSW State Government to open their stores on Anzac Day prior to the traditional 1 pm time, claiming their customers would be severely inconvenienced by their closure. The request was followed by criticism from politicians, ex-Diggers and their customers. Kmart's Managing Director Guy Russo withdrew the request in early March, apologising to the community and taking full responsibility admitting he was personally responsible.
Girl Xpress Underwear
In November 2011 Kmart sold female underwear aimed at its youth market which were considered sexually inappropriate. The underwear contained text such as: 'call me', 'email me' and 'I ♥ rich boys'. The garments were withdrawn from sale and an apology was given after they received complaints from customers.
- Kmart operated by Sears Holdings Corporation
- Big W, Target and The Warehouse, Kmart's main competitors
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