Mayors from country New South Wales have made their pitch to corporate Australia just days out from the slated closure of a number of Target department stores.
Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes, along with the Mayors of Gilgandra, Temora and Tenterfield, met with representatives of Target Australia earlier this week to raise concerns about the closure of Target stores in their communities.
With the Batemans Bay store due to close on April 20, Cr Innes says “I was there to show support to my fellow mayors and to encourage Target to review its decision.”
“They gave us a really good hearing and there was an enormous amount of goodwill and genuine passion from the mayors to try and find solutions.”
In February, the Wesfarmers owned chain said it was making plans to transfer staff to other parts of the business – which includes Kmart and Bunnings locally.
“Target is working hard to ensure our Batemans Bay team members can join another Target team at a store convenient to them or across the wider Wesfarmers retail businesses,” the February media statement said.
Cr Innes points to the new $3.4 million Dan Murphy’s development recently approved in the vicinity of the Batemans Bay Target Country store.
“Dan Murphys will add to the offering of businesses in the southern end of the Batemans Bay CBD, and has the potential for flow-on benefits through increased foot traffic to Target Country,” the Mayor believes.
“It would be a shame if Target didn’t wait and see whether business did improve before shutting the doors.
“We openly discussed options for alternative business models, but ultimately the online presence is having a major impact on the retail outlets, and that’s recognised.
“We all appreciated the opportunity to speak frankly and openly, and while Target representatives agreed to consider continuing further dialogue to explore ways to keep the stores open, they were non-committal and conscious of not setting false expectations that stores wouldn’t close as planned.”
Speaking with Region Media late today, a Target spokesperson says, “At Target we are proud to be an integral part of the communities we operate in and we are committed to supporting the community, our team members, suppliers and customers as best we can.”
“This is why the decision to close a store is such a difficult one.
“While the plans for these stores [Bateman’s Bay, Gilgandra, Temora and Tenterfield] remain as announced, the councils put forward a proposal for an alternative operating model in regional areas which we will consider and review.”