Kmart Australia nabs International Retailer of the Year - Australia award

Opening over 50 new stores created 1,000 brand new jobs for regional communities.

Against a backdrop wherein businesses have been forced to limit their operations, with some left with no choice but to close their doors, Kmart Australia has been able to bear the brunt of the pandemic and still was able to adapt and grow. 

Within the past year, Kmart has welcomed the addition of 52 new small-format Kmart stores (K-hub), and 21 Kmart stores, with more slated to open in 2021. In total, more than 90 new stores will be added to the Kmart network in just under two years.

Despite the rapid expansion being an extremely big undertaking, multiple teams across the business from store operations, store renewal, information technology, corporate, and marketing to name a few came together to provide customers even greater access to Kmart products amidst the pandemic.

Kmart witnessed a significant milestone wherein the business opened 37 stores in one month. For perspective, the most stores previously delivered in one year was 43.

The growth of Kmart’s network results from Target stores transitioning to Kmart to create a more sustainable business for Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers.

With multiple store development and openings, approximately 1,000 brand new jobs were created in regional communities and thus doubled up Kmart’s regional workforce. “The level of training and hours dedicated to ensuring team members were ready for opening day has not been seen in Kmart’s history,” the firm explained. 

The addition of new stores also meant an opportunity for Kmart team members to develop their career within the company and step up into newly created roles within the renewal or store management team.

Thanks to the firm’s perseverance and growth amidst the uncertainty of the pandemic, Kmart Australia secured the International Retailer of the Year - Australia award at the recently concluded Retail Asia Awards, presented by Retail Asia. Now in its 16th year, the awards event lauds exceptional retailers, projects, and executives who have introduced remarkable initiatives and solutions that have further changed the retail industry. 

Kmart has performed positively in the past 12 months, with the Group (Kmart and Target combined) recording earnings of $453m for its half-year results. And thanks to the business investing in new in-store retail technology and data and digital capabilities development, it also recorded an increase in online sales.

Meanwhile, new stores against a pandemic also meant the firm had to ramp up its safety protocols. Kmart introduced a newly developed back-end system to support online orders, whilst also investing in ‘Click and Collect’ operations during store closures to provide an easy and safe option for customers to collect their items.

The business also acted swiftly when it came to COVID cases amongst team members and customers and stock delays to overcome any future issues. Kmart implemented health and safety measures that went above and beyond the requirements of government health departments to ensure the safety of team members and customers. At the height of the pandemic, 72 protocols were put in place.

Kmart Australia is a leading retailer with more than 300 stores across Australia and New Zealand, with sourcing offices in Asia and a wholesale operation. It forms part of Kmart Group which also comprises Target and Catch and sits within the broader group of Wesfarmers businesses.

Watch the interview below to know more about their winning project:

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