Kaufland’s first foray outside Europe has fizzled today after the German retail giant announced it would abandon plans for Australian market development.
The group was previously planning to shake up Australia’s retail market with 11 stores in Victoria to be supported by a 110,000sqm purpose-built distribution centre, along with openings in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane.
At every turn the hypermarket was met by state government fanfare for its potential economic contribution coupled with complaints from independent retailers over its proposed use of industrial land for retail purposes.
Today the company told 200 Australian employees about the decision to undertake an orderly withdrawal from the Australian market to concentrate on its European core markets for the foreseeable future.
It said the decision was made after careful and thorough consideration, and “generous packages including all entitlements” would be offered to staff.
“This was not an easy decision for us. We always felt welcome in Australia. We would like to thank our employees and we apologise for the disruption this decision will cause,” says Kaufland International acting CEO Frank Schumann.
“We would also like to thank our business partners, who offered us great support over the last few years. We would also like to thank the government for being very open-minded to our projects.
“In Europe, we see a great deal of growth potential. We will actively shape the consolidation of the European retail sector, thus further reinforcing our leading position.”
The retailer says the future of Kaufland’s existing Australian investments, including properties purchased for retail outlets and distribution infrastructure, will be discussed with the relevant parties in coming days.
Related stories: Construction underway for Kaufland’s first Adelaide store
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Kaufland gearing up to launch its hypermarkets in Australia
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